The Singapore Customs operations building officially opened in Bulim Drive in Jurong West yesterday, relocating from its Keppel Road premises after close to 80 years.
The new building uses modern facilities to support the Singapore Customs' enforcement operations as well as the training and development of its officers.
It will also allow for intelligence, investigation and compliance-related functions to come under one roof, Singapore Customs said.
The need to find a replacement facility came after Customs was informed in 2009 that its Keppel Road site had been earmarked for redevelopment, the authority said in a release.
The Keppel Road building was built in 1940 and originally designed to provide office space for Customs staff working in the sea ports, and had served as staff quarters. The building was later repurposed as a base for enforcement operations from the 1960s.
The department's role is to ensure a fair and competitive playing field for traders, while also protecting the Government's revenue by taking enforcement action against those who attempt to evade duties and taxes through fraudulent declarations or the bringing in of contraband goods.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong said that amid increasing pressures of protectionism and nationalism working against free trade, the Customs authorities across the world must pursue trade facilitative measures to promote the seamless flow of goods across borders.
"Singapore Customs should continue to promote and support free trade as part of a rules-based multilateral trade order."
However, Mr Wong cautioned that "we need to remain a secure and trusted node in the international supply chain".
"Otherwise, Singapore's excellent connectivity could be exploited for illicit and illegal trade," the minister added.
He said that leveraging technology would help Singapore Customs as an organisation to improve operations, but officers, too, should be keen to embrace new technologies and work processes.
"Customs officers should take the initiative to reskill and upskill, so that you are able to master new technologies, you don't have to be afraid of changes that are taking place in the organisation, and you will be ready to take on new roles," he said.
Mr Ho Chee Pong, director-general of Singapore Customs, said the new facility enhances the operational capability of Singapore Customs and affirms its commitment to protecting revenue, and making trade easy, fair and secure.