Mr Peter Ho, President, Container Depot and Logistics Association
Mr Ricky Loo, Deputy President, Container Depot and Logistics Association
Mr Jeffrey Siow, Managing Director and COO, Enterprise Singapore
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. It is my pleasure to join you today at the Logistics and Transportation Conference 2022.
2. We have come a long way in our battle against Covid-19. Each of you here played a crucial role in our national effort to overcome the pandemic over the last two and a half years. You have helped bring us to where we are now.
a. The logistics and transportation sectors comprise many essential workers who support the daily running of our economy and society.
i. They include truck drivers who deliver vegetables, fruits and meat to the various markets to make sure Singaporeans have access to fresh food, packers who prepare and pack essential goods in warehouses, and workers who keep goods moving through our land, air, and sea ports.
ii. We thank you, your teams, and your workers. Thank you for your resilience and determination. We will continue to support you on the road to the new normal.
3. Our strong logistics sector forms the backbone of Singapore’s global manufacturing, trade and connectivity hub.
a. The recent pandemic had highlighted the vital importance of logistics. Businesses and organisations – even those outside of the logistics sector – had to move quickly to improve the efficiency and resilience of their supply chains. For example, the movement of essential goods, vaccines and medical supplies took on a new urgency during Covid-19.
b. Today, as we emerge from the pandemic, we must redouble our efforts to enhance our logistics infrastructure and continue to improve our processes. Global competition has increased and it takes more to stay ahead of the curve.
4. I’d like to share what I believe are 4 critical wheels that will help our economy continue running smoothly in relation to the logistics and transportation sectors. They are:
(i) Connectivity; (ii) Community; (iii) Capabilities; and (iv) Collaboration
5. Connectivity drives economic growth. Today, consumers and businesses expect the movement of goods and people to be faster, more seamless and more transparent than ever.
a. The increased possibility of supply chain disruptions has led to the need for quicker decision-making to mitigate supply shortages or chokeholds. So now, a premium is being placed on innovative technologies and resource-sharing initiatives that strengthen connectivity.
b. With greater awareness of how the supply chain is interconnected, many shippers today are looking to develop visibility across the supply chain as this helps to better optimise their processes and responses to disruptions.
6. The Government recognises the need to strengthen interconnectivity between supply chain nodes and enterprises. This not only helps optimise operational efficiency for individual companies, but also for the entire ecosystem.
a. In particular, we are focusing on improving intra-industry supply chain visibility through, for example, by facilitating data exchange. This will prevent clusters of companies from operating in silos.
b. One of our ongoing efforts is the Singapore Standardisation Programme. Working closely together, Enterprise Singapore, PSA, the Container Depot and Logistics Association of Singapore (CDAS) and other industry stakeholders are collaborating to develop a new common data standard for container logistics flow.
i. This standard aims to harmonise datasets and specifications to enhance interoperability. This will in turn raise the visibility of information among players and lead to better-informed decision-making and reduced congestion across container flow nodes.
ii. The standard will also help to reduce the time being spent on interfacing with industry solutions and marketing.
iii. When fully realised, this standard will allow partners in the ecosystem to exchange data, pre-book timings to ease congestion at depots; and receive real-time updates.
iv. If these three objectives can be met, it can raise productivity as well as facilitate supply chain connectivity.
7. The second wheel – community – refers to the close ties between logistics and transportation sector players like yourselves and your partners and stakeholders.
8. The Container Tracking System, or CTR, that is launched today is an example of how the sector can work even more closely together as one community.
a. Many companies currently track asset locations, for instance, trailers, manually on paper or using Excel sheets.
b. The new CTR system will help operators digitally track their fleet and trailer assets. In addition, it will facilitate resource-sharing between companies. They can access each other’s trailer pools through leasing arrangements. This reduces overspending or the need for companies to stock up on fixed assets for “just in case” scenarios, and help companies optimise resources.
c. More than 26 companies are currently involved in the CTR trials. To date, the system supports the live tracking of more than 500 vehicles and 1,600 trailers.
9. In future, CTR could also possibly be deployed to help companies fully optimise their resources and track their sustainability efforts. This will be an increasingly important feature to have, as more shippers seek to cut carbon emissions across the supply chain, especially amidst the elevated energy prices.
10. The third wheel revolves around the capabilities of our logistics and transport industry. Companies will have to continue to upgrade and transform in order to stay competitive. Throughout the challenging COVID-19 period, we saw that many Singapore enterprises were determined to adapt, transform and build their capabilities. They also did so by taking advantage of government assistance schemes.
a. For example, they used the Productivity Solutions Grant (or PSG) to improve their business processes and productivity. The grant supports pre-scoped solutions like digital fleet management systems and sector-specific equipment such as autonomous transport robots for warehouses. As a result, many of the enterprises benefited from time and cost savings, as well as revenue gains.
b. In the last three years, we have received over 116,100 applications for the Productivity Solutions Grant. Close to 95% of all complete submissions were approved. About 80% of the approved projects were completed and received their funds within 13 months.
c. Companies also tapped on the Enterprise Development Grant (or EDG), which provides customised support for their transformation projects. Over the past three years, we received more than 20,400 EDG applications. About 85% of all complete submissions were approved.
d. One of the EDG-supported projects from the logistics and transport sector is the adoption of the Vertical Chassis Stacker Technology by Allied Container Services. The stacker provides intensified parking to optimise limited yard space. The space previously used to park one trailer horizontally can now be used to park nine trailers vertically. The company is now able to use the 0.4 hectares saved to store other containers. This shows that the EDG can transform a company’s operations, which can lead to savings, operational efficiency, and revenue growth.
11. Besides tapping on grants to improve, another key way that companies can strengthen their capabilities is to adopt stringent and high standards. Today, I am happy to announce two new standards for the logistics and transportation sector.
a. One - the Technical Reference or TR 104 which will guide the safe use of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in warehouses.
b. And two - the Singapore Standard or SS 684 which is a code of practice for container depot operations. Let me elaborate.
c. TR 104 defines the safety requirements for the operation, navigation and control of powered AMRs in warehouses. As warehouse automation continues to transform the logistics and supply chain industry, TR 104 will reduce ambiguity in technology deployment. In doing so, it will improve overall safety significantly, especially in a complex warehouse environment.
d. SS 684 will set important standards and guidelines for operators on how to operate indoor depots. Due to land scarcity, more depots are being housed in buildings instead of outdoors. The indoor depots allow containers to be stacked high. They maximise the use of space and are free from the threat of strong winds.
i. SS 684 aims to improve the efficiency of container storage and movements in and out of depots. The waiting time to transport and collect containers is reduced too.
ii. SS 684 will provide guidelines on the information needed for container movements in and out of depots, as well as the inventory management of containers. This effectively complements the implementation of the CTR and Electronic Container Trucking System.
12. Last but not least, the fourth wheel that helps to keep our economy running is collaboration.
a. TACs like CDAS play a huge role in paving and accelerating the sector’s
transformation journey. CDAS has been a proactive leader in this space. It set up a training centre in 2007 for the sector to upgrade its skills, and share new technologies and industry trends. Since 2008, CDAS has worked closely with EnterpriseSG on various digitalisation projects.
b. The CTR that is launched today is an example of a fruitful collaboration between CDAS and EnterpriseSG.
c. I encourage companies to continue working with CDAS and other relevant TACs and the Government, to come up with innovative solutions that address the sectors’ needs.
d. The Government stands ready to support industry-wide transformation efforts to uplift companies’ capabilities in digitalisation, automation, and sustainability.
The Wheels of Our Economy
13. As we continue to work together in securing Singapore’s place in the future, the four ‘wheels’ of connectivity, community, capabilities and collaboration, are key to the success of the logistics and transformation sector.
14. Let me once again thank each of you for your resilience, tremendous efforts and contributions to the growth of our logistics and transport sector. I wish all of you a successful Logistics and Transportation Conference 2022.
15. With our collective efforts, I am confident that the wheels of our Singapore economy will keep on running strong in our journey ahead.
16. Thank you.