S'pore companies can expand network of overseas partners to capture growth: President Halimah

President Halimah Yacob visited logistics firm Janio's warehouse in Tampines on Nov 24, 2021.
President Halimah Yacob visited logistics firm Janio's warehouse in Tampines on Nov 24, 2021.PHOTO: ISTANA

SINGAPORE - Companies here can expand their network of overseas partnerships to seize opportunities amid the economic recovery and overcome challenges like supply chain disruptions, said President Halimah Yacob on Wednesday (Nov 24).

"Singapore is a small market, but we can provide the gateway... to other parts of South-east Asia and possibly also other parts of the world," noted Madam Halimah, who was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to logistics firm Janio's warehouse in Tampines.

She said it is also important for firms to identify growth opportunities in e-commerce, and work closely with government agencies to discover accessible markets, adding: "This is not easy for new companies, but (they can) work with agencies that already have some of these networks overseas."

Madam Halimah noted that Janio is a small and medium-sized enterprise that has leveraged technology to capture a slice of the e-commerce boom in South-east Asia amid the pandemic.

The company started using a machine earlier this year that sorts up to 5,000 parcels an hour according to weight and size - far more than the 1,000 to 2,000 items when sorting was done manually.

Janio also uses Zippy robots that sort parcels by their destinations.

The company has received support from Enterprise Singapore's (ESG) Scale-up SG programme, which provides help such as peer-learning opportunities and access to ESG's networks.

"With the enhancements in their capabilities, they were able to go into 10 new countries... within just a short period of three years," said Madam Halimah, adding that Janio has also been upskilling its workers in technology.

The company has also engaged a consultancy to look at how it can better retain talent and create opportunities for career progression, she added.

Janio co-founder and chief executive Ng Jun Kai told The Straits Times that the company, which has about 250 staff, aims to expand its footprint in markets like China, Britain, the United States and Australia.

"We do have a presence there, but we want to go deeper into these markets, working with local partners to help them expand beyond the domestic market," said Mr Ng, noting that Janio has a network of 200 partners across the 15 countries it is in.

"Our partners see us as a software layer in most cases because most of them also own hard assets. By connecting with us, they can get access to our network of other partners, whom we manage on their behalf."

He said Janio helps its freight partners, for example, capture other parts of the supply chain such as first- and last-mile deliveries.

This allows the freight partners to provide more complete solutions to the companies they work with.