French logistics and transport company Bollore Logistics has opened a $100 million facility in the Boon Lay area which houses the firm's first innovation centre in the Asia-Pacific and only its second worldwide.
The 540,000 sq ft facility, which includes a 43m-tall conveyor and is designed to support the perfume and cosmetics sector, uses an estimated 40 per cent less energy than the average warehouse in the same category.
The Sunview Road facility, called Blue Hub, has a centralised automation system to allow for higher productivity in goods-picking activities and better use of space.
Speaking at the official opening yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said Blue Hub is testament to Singapore's continued attractiveness as a strategic base for companies in the logistics sector to manage their regional and global operations.
More than 5,000 logistics companies are based here and 25 international logistics players have either their global or regional headquarters located here, he said.
"The combination of a strong talent pool, robust supporting ecosystem in professional and transport services, and deep research capabilities in supply chain management, provides a solid value proposition for companies when they navigate the markets and supply chains in Asia," Mr Chee said.
Projects in the works at the innovation centre in Singapore include the development of a robotic arm for the luxury retail industry.
Mr Fabien Giordano, chief executive of Bollore Logistics North Asia, said Singapore was chosen as the location for its research and development (R&D) centre as it is a strategic hub for the company's operations in the region.
"If we compare with other parts of Asia, the level of training, schools and the ecosystem in general in Singapore (best) support the level of R&D we want to do in Asia," he said.
The number of people Bollore Logistics hires across its 12 warehouses here, including more than 300 workers based at Blue Hub.
The company employs around 1,600 people across its 12 warehouses here, including more than 300 workers at Blue Hub. The firm is looking to increase its total headcount to beyond 1,800 next year.
Mr Chee said Bollore Logistics will work with institutes of higher learning in Singapore to co-develop curriculum, conduct research and provide internship opportunities for students.
"The idea (for the collaboration with schools) is to focus on freight and logistics (solutions), and to have students participate in these projects," Mr Giordano said, adding that the firm is working with institutions like Republic Polytechnic and the National University of Singapore.
The programmes with the institutions will be launched next year.