Coronavirus: Years of effort behind robust supply chains

The global movements of goods and supplies would likely change as countries locked borders down to stem the spread of the virus. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Singapore's efforts over the years in preparing for possible disruptions to its supply chains have allowed it "to move quickly and activate new contingency options as others closed" amid the coronavirus pandemic, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

He also said the global movements of goods and supplies would be likely to change irrevocably as countries locked down their borders to stem the spread of the virus.

These lockdowns have, in turn, brought economic activity to a near standstill.

But the years of scenario planning and building up of global networks and connections have resulted in Singapore being able to rely on its strategy of stockpiling, diversification, and building local production capabilities, he told The Sunday Times.

He made the point in an e-mail interview to mark 100 days of the virus outbreak here.

Still, the country has to constantly review its plans to be ready for future challenges, he added.

The minister said that Singapore has started discussions with other like-minded countries that understand the importance of maintaining robust and resilient supply chains in this pandemic period.

"We firmly believe that we must keep essential goods flowing in order to have the ammunition necessary to fight the virus effectively. We have since signed a number of agreements with other countries," he added.

Singapore is also discussing the issue with other countries, and hopes to "see concrete action arise soon from these discussions".

Mr Chan noted that the circuit breaker measures have taken a significant toll on Singapore businesses and the economy. He thanked business leaders for being understanding about the need for the measures to minimise the spread of the virus in the community.

He also said he was proud of how Singaporeans had responded in the fight against Covid-19, and adjusted to new ways of working and living.

"We have seen an outpouring of support for and goodwill towards not only our healthcare workers... but also our migrant workers and even small businesses."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 03, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Years of effort behind robust supply chains. Subscribe