Singapore has strengthened status as global logistics hub amid Covid-19 crisis: Chan Chun Sing

The logistics sector is a key pillar of the economy and contributed 1.4 per cent of Singapore's GDP in 2019. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore has strengthened its status as a global logistics hub amid the Covid-19 pandemic, riding on its competitive advantages such as the efficiency, reliability and resilience of its network, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (Oct 27).

Speaking to the media after a visit to German logistics firm DB Schenker's facility in Changi, Mr Chan said that Singapore has further enhanced its reputation as an international hub amid the crisis by keeping the country open to trade even as global supply chains are disrupted.

"We have distinguished ourselves in how we lean forward to make sure that the integrity of our supply chains are maintained. We did not impose any additional restrictions, we did not impose any export controls," he added.

Rather, government agencies have worked to ensure that any disruptions in Singapore's supply chain network are quickly overcome by providing options in other parts of the network, Mr Chan said.

He also noted how Singapore has moved towards higher value-added logistics services such as contract logistics that provide customised and end-to-end solutions for companies.

"In Singapore, given our size and given our connectivity, we are not going to compete on every dimension of the logistics (sector). What we are going after and what many companies are going to increasingly use us for are... those products that are high-value, time-sensitive and need high assurance (of the reliability) of the supply chain," Mr Chan said.

Such high-value sectors, such as bio-pharma and info-communications technology, are the type of businesses that are attracted to Singapore and they can create more good jobs for Singaporeans, he noted.

The logistics sector is a key pillar of Singapore's economy and contributed $6.8 billion or 1.4 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product in 2019. It employs over 86,000 workers across more than 5,300 enterprises.

Comprising three main sub-sectors - contract logistics, freight forwarding and land transportation - the industry is a critical enabler for major segments of the nation's economy, including manufacturing and wholesale trade, as it facilitates the domestic and international flow of goods.

Leading international logistics firms, such as DHL, UPS and DB Schenker, have made Singapore their regional headquarters, while multinational corporations like GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever have located their regional supply chain management teams here.

Mr Chan noted that major logistics firms in Singapore are planning to create about 1,500 new jobs in the sector over the next five years, based on investment commitments secured by the Economic Development Board in 2018 and 2019.

Investments in digital transformation will also bring about new capabilities and jobs in digitalisation and automation within the industry, he added.

Singapore will continue to strengthen its hub status in three ways, Mr Chan said.

One, by making sure that global logistics players here continue to fund investments and grow operations here to serve both their local and worldwide operations.

Two, by strengthening its network of free trade agreements to make sure that it can provide more opportunities at more competitive prices for logistics firms to base their operations here.

Three, by improving the efficiency of its system and utilising the latest technologies possible.

"We are confident that this sector will continue to grow and create many good jobs for our workers and create many good business opportunities for our partners that have chosen Singapore as their base to service the rest of the world," Mr Chan said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.