Mr Takahiro Yanase, Chairman of POKKA,
Mr Rex Macaskill, Group CEO of POKKA,
Mr Stuart Gibson, Executive Director, Co-founder & Co-CEO of ESR,
Mr Jeffrey Shen, Executive Director, Co-founder & Co-CEO of ESR,
Mr Jai Mirpuri, Country Head for Singapore and Thailand at ESR,
Mr Benett Theseira, Head of Asia Pacific at PGIM Real Estate,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to the groundbreaking ceremony for the POKKA headquarters.
2. As a household brand, POKKA’s wide assortment of beverages have been enjoyed by many in Singapore. I am glad to hear that POKKA, in partnership with ESR and PGIM, will be expanding its presence here to better serve the growing consumer market in Asia and globally.
POKKA’s new facility affirms Singapore’s status as a leading business hub
3. This new facility housing POKKA’s regional headquarters, research and development (R&D) lab, and distribution centre will help boost Singapore’s status as a leading business hub. POKKA has nurtured a highly capable team of over 400 members anchored on its 45 years of operations in Singapore. It has enjoyed consistent growth in Singapore, with gross sales nearly doubling from SGD 125 million in 2010 to SGD 249 million in 2021. POKKA will continue to build on its extensive operations here and deepen its partnership with Singapore.
4. Allow me to use this platform to share how this synergises with some of the important plans that Minister Gan Kim Yong spoke about in Parliament, around two months ago. Under Singapore’s Trade 2030 strategy, which was announced at MTI’s Committee of Supply Debate in March this year, we aim to grow our export value from SGD 805 billion to at least SGD 1 trillion by 2030; we also target to double our offshore trade value from USD 1 trillion to USD 2 trillion. POKKA’s new headquarters is a good example of how Global Traders can anchor more of their upstream, downstream, and innovation activities here.
5. The facility also supports our Manufacturing 2030 strategy, which was launched last year. To increase manufacturing value-add by 50 per cent in a decade, we will need to produce goods higher up in the manufacturing value chain. Advanced manufacturing in food-related value chains is one such sector with exciting growth opportunities, especially with digital transformation and sustainability development gaining more urgency.
Honing digital- and green-related capabilities is the way forward
6. POKKA’s new facility will integrate POKKA's various digital and green-related capabilities. This will complement its investments in the last two years to enhance its manufacturing processes. The new facility, together with its manufacturing capabilities, will serve as a critical node in POKKA’s global value chain.
7. To enhance its manufacturing capabilities, POKKA had earlier invested in new machinery that is expected to boost annual production capacity by 20 per cent. At the same time, these investments are also expected to achieve greater sustainability in POKKA’s manufacturing processes. For example, instead of using 23 grams of plastic to produce a 500-millilitre bottle previously, a new bottle-blowing machine requires only 17 grams of material. In addition, the new production line will reduce energy and water consumption by 13 per cent.
8. Sustainability will be core to POKKA’s distribution and manufacturing line. The new warehouse’s rooftop is expected to house a solar power plant that can generate over two megawatts of solar energy at its peak using efficient solar panel technologies. The building will also be equipped with solar power charging capabilities to support a fleet of electric trucking vehicles.
9. Furthermore, POKKA will be investing in automation and digital technologies for the new warehouse to establish high-tech and efficient distribution operations. To be jointly developed by ESR and PGIM Real Estate, this five-story warehouse facility with an area of 64,490 square metres, will boast best-in-class technologies. To maximise these new capabilities and support POKKA’s expansion into more markets from Singapore, it is an opportune time for POKKA to develop and upskill its regional supply chain and logistics teams in tandem.
10. Throughout its forward-looking manufacturing and logistics processes, POKKA and its partners have demonstrated the value of a digitalised and green-oriented supply chain, pointing the way forward for the industry.
POKKA’s R&D presence and innovation collaboration will accelerate product development and meet customer needs
11. With an expanded R&D presence and collaborations with Singapore companies and researchers, POKKA will be able to accelerate product development and meet customer needs in more markets. POKKA can also tap on Singapore’s multi-cultural consumer base to test and tailor its products for the Asian market.
12. POKKA is already well known for its focus on vitality and wellness through the creation of healthy and tasty beverages such as its popular Jasmine Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and Natsbee Honey Lemon Tea. Looking ahead, POKKA has formulated in Singapore a new product development roadmap that focuses on creating health and wellness products such as nutraceutical beverages. The roadmap also seeks to expand POKKA’s portfolio of products beyond beverages.
13. To achieve these targets, the new headquarters’ R&D facilities will house an innovation and incubation hub to explore the use of novel ingredients and products. POKKA plans to partner with local Institutes of Higher Learning and start-ups to bring these new products to market. The innovation and incubation hub will also be open to food-science entrepreneurs to test and launch their products.
14. At the same time, POKKA’s R&D lab will also focus on process improvements. For example, artificial intelligence will be applied to analyse customer purchasing behaviours and predict future demand, which will further improve POKKA’s supply chain operations. As the new facility enhances its offerings with innovations, cutting edge knowledge and technology, POKKA’s future product line-up will be developed in Singapore as well as “Made in Singapore”. Together with its manufacturing and distribution arms, the strengthened R&D capabilities will position POKKA for stronger growth.
15. In closing, I would like to thank POKKA, ESR, and PGIM for their continued confidence in Singapore and for deepening our partnership. Together, we can break more boundaries in innovation, manufacturing, and distribution. I look forward to the successful completion of the new POKKA headquarters. Thank you!