Local firms urged to stay nimble amid headwinds

At a ceremony marking the official opening of Jurong Port's Combi Terminal (above) yesterday, Minister of State Koh Poh Koon noted that the facility will provide seamless services for multi-purpose vessels.
At a ceremony marking the official opening of Jurong Port's Combi Terminal (above) yesterday, Minister of State Koh Poh Koon noted that the facility will provide seamless services for multi-purpose vessels.ST PHOTO: GERALDINE GOH

As a small and open economy, Singapore must keep refining its strategies to remain relevant and connected to the global economy, according to the Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development.

Dr Koh Poh Koon said after a ceremony marking the official opening yesterday of Jurong Port's Combi Terminal that the nation's openness to international trade exposes it to global headwinds.

But he noted that as situations change, an economy that is able to weather the storm can benefit from the upturn.

"As a global transshipment hub with good trade links and connectivity to many different economies in the world, as the global economy starts to pick up, we will continue to see an uplift as well," added Dr Koh. He urged businesses to be ready to seize opportunities in line with the transformation of the global economy.

Dr Koh noted as well that the Government is supporting enterprises in restructuring: "We're trying to help companies to take this chance of a slowdown to consolidate their business and business model to be more future-ready.

"At the same time, we're working very hard to try and establish more bilateral trade agreements to open up new markets and opportunities."

Dr Koh noted that the Jurong Port's Combi Terminal, which allows for loading and unloading of general cargo and containers at one location, will provide seamless services for multi-purpose vessels.

"Jurong Port will capture value from handling, consolidating and de-consolidating their cargoes in Singapore for re-distribution to other parts of the world," he said.

"Other companies in Singapore, such as those involved in repair works and logistics, may also benefit from downstream opportunities."

The Combi Terminal was set up through the redeployment of assets, such as cranes, within Jurong Port. The terminal comprises three berths, which can handle an annual capacity of up to 300,000 containers and up to one million tonnes of general cargo.

Shippers could reap a 10 to 15 per cent reduction from the usual turnaround time of 20 hours for loading or unloading.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'Local firms urged to stay nimble amid headwinds'. Print Edition | Subscribe