S'pore has plans to counter possible delivery delays due to Covid-19 checks at land checkpoints

Drivers at the checkpoints will be allowed to enter Singapore only if the results of their Covid-19 antigen rapid tests are negative.
Drivers at the checkpoints will be allowed to enter Singapore only if the results of their Covid-19 antigen rapid tests are negative.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - There are plans in place to mitigate any potential delays in deliveries that may come with the new requirement of testing cargo drivers entering Singapore, FairPrice group chief executive Seah Kian Peng said on Friday (Jan 22).

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

"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 from Malaysia via the Tuas and Woodlands Checkpoints.

In the initial stage, drivers arriving at the checkpoints will be selected at random to be tested, a Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) spokesman said on Thursday. "We intend for all cargo drivers and accompanying personnel to undergo the testing in the coming weeks."

They will be allowed to enter Singapore only if the results of their Covid-19 antigen rapid tests are negative.

Mr Seah assured consumers that 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 where we think 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, Market Place 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.”