PARLIAMENT

Checkpoint snarls not major source of disruption for firms

During the festive period last month, some commuters reported they were stuck in jams that lasted four to six hours at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints.
During the festive period last month, some commuters reported they were stuck in jams that lasted four to six hours at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints.PHOTO: ST FILE

While traffic snarls at the Causeway may affect deliveries, the Government has not received feedback that these jams are a major source of disruption for local companies.

Addressing Parliament yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that if there are significant disruptions to supply chains by land, businesses will use alternative routes such as sea or air freight, or reserve stocks for essential supplies, or do both.

"While the jams may affect the schedule or timeliness of deliveries, we have not received feedback that they constitute a major source of business disruption for our companies recently," Mr Chan said in his reply to Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera. Mr Perera had asked about the impact of Causeway jams and what the Government will do to reduce their extent and impact.

During the festive period last month, some commuters reported they were stuck in jams that lasted four to six hours at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints. It led Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam to say immigration officers were doing their best to cope with the increased travel volumes amid a manpower shortage.

Mr Chan noted that many companies schedule deliveries to avoid peak periods, or factor in extra travel time as a buffer against delays from such seasonal factors. He also pointed out that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) releases notices regularly to help motorists anticipate such jams.

He added that Singapore's economic agencies work with businesses to diversify supply chains where needed and possible, as well as to put in place measures to mitigate potential disruptions.

Mr Chan noted that many companies schedule deliveries to avoid peak periods, or factor in extra travel time as a buffer against delays from such seasonal factors. He also pointed out that the ICA releases notices regularly to help motorists anticipate such jams.

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with our businesses to diversify and put in place anticipatory measures to ensure the security and sustainability of our supply chains, such that no one factor - be it natural disasters, seasonality or externally imposed actions - can cause a major disruption to our economy," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2019, with the headline 'Checkpoint snarls not major source of disruption for firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe