Plans in place to deal with delivery delays

There are plans in place to mitigate any potential delays in deliveries that may arise due to the new requirement of testing cargo drivers entering Singapore at land checkpoints, FairPrice group chief executive Seah Kian Peng said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters at the official opening of FairPrice Xtra supermarket at Parkway Parade, Mr Seah described the delivery situation as smooth, even after Covid-19 testing for cargo drivers kicked in at 9am yesterday.

"So far, things are progressing smoothly. In fact, we've been monitoring (the situation) since the Malaysian government announced the movement control order extension," he said.

The compulsory antigen rapid test (ART) is being progressively rolled out for cargo drivers entering Singapore via the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Thursday.

They will be allowed to enter Singapore if the results of their Covid-19 ART are negative.

Mr Seah also said there are plans to counter possible delays, such as diversifying sources of supply, and building up enough supplies.

He said: "The assurance to consumers is that we have been doing this not only recently. We've been doing this for the longest time.

"Things don't remain static, we always plan ahead. We also anticipate. With each year, we get better prepared. And after what happened last year, we are even more prepared."

Giving an example, he said there used to be a two-month buffer for rice, but this has increased over the years.

He said: "We anticipate (potential problems) and we build up reserves, from two months, to three months, and in some cases, four months, and in some cases... it may go even longer."

When asked if the FairPrice Group will make any plans to get its front-line staff vaccinated, Mr Seah said: "I will be encouraging my staff, and I am also waiting for my turn to be vaccinated.

"I think all the (arrangements) will be worked out, but, certainly, we will want to do it in a way which is as efficient as possible."

In response to queries, a spokesman for Dairy Farm Group, which operates Cold Storage, Giant, MarketPlace and Jasons Deli, said it has been monitoring the situation closely.

She said: "We are working with the local authorities as well as our suppliers in anticipation of any challenges that may surface during this period."

Adeline Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2021, with the headline 'Plans in place to deal with delivery delays'. Subscribe