Enterprise Singapore Logo
News
28 Jul 2020 Updated 28 Jul 2020

Logistics firms focus on staying agile, seizing opportunities

The Business Times Deepanraj Ganesan

THE impact of Covid-19 has been far reaching and most, if not all, industries are facing the economic fallout of the outbreak.

Logistics firms, which are involved in the movement, storage, and flow of goods, have been directly affected by the pandemic as well. But in Singapore, several firms have managed to press ahead with transformation, remaining agile, and intensifying their efforts for business growth.

Government agency Enterprise Singapore (ESG), which supports the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), told The Business Times that it has see an increase in transport and logistics companies diversifying for growth utilising various strategies.

These include broadening services, such as providing multimodal logistics or warehousing services; and looking to in-market partnerships to continue with internationalisation efforts to capture growth opportunities and deepen market presence.

Pacific Integrated Logistics ventured into food logistics this year, and accelerated expansion plans by investing in new facilities. PHOTO: PACIFIC INTEGRATED LOGISTICS PTE LTD
Pacific Integrated Logistics ventured into food logistics this year, and accelerated expansion plans by investing in new facilities. PHOTO: PACIFIC INTEGRATED LOGISTICS PTE LTD
 

Pacific Integrated Logistics (PLG) is one firm that has been rethinking its entire operating model to embrace radical change in the post-Covid-19 world.

Traditionally strong in industrial, marine and offshore logistics, the Covid-19 outbreak led PLG to start developing and deepening new capabilities in food logistics, diversifying its business segments.

Amid the islandwide shortage of trucks for delivery, PLG seized the opportunity to venture into food logistics this year.

Cold chain management, an essential part of food logistics, became a new focus area for the company, and it also accelerated its expansion plans by investing in two new cold chain facilities at Senoko and Pandan Loop, and one ambient storage facility at Tuas South Lane.

Diversifying services

Mr Kelvin Lim, founder and group managing director of PLG, said: "As a leading logistics group, PLG is actively involved at every stage in the food supply chain. During this period, Enterprise Singapore connected us with other businesses that urgently required PLG's support to deliver food products through our trucking services. We have been actively adapting and preparing for the new reality in the post-Covid-19 environment. Our digital transformation is about meeting customer needs and improving employees' productivity.

"Our proprietary IT solutions such as CRM, paperless invoices, data mining, integration of digital systems and solutions help ensure that our customers' products are transported without a hitch."

Global Airfreight International has been working to diversify its services to include multimodal logistics, and warehousing services. PHOTO: GLOBAL AIRFREIGHT INTERNATIONAL
Global Airfreight International has been working to diversify its services to include multimodal logistics, and warehousing services. PHOTO: GLOBAL AIRFREIGHT INTERNATIONAL

Global Airfreight International (GAI) Pte Ltd, known as one of the largest Singapore-owned freight forwarders in the logistics industry, has been working to diversify its services to include multimodal logistics, and warehousing services.

The company has been moving into vertical specialisations such as pharma logistics. Covid-19 has furthered its resolve to become a specialist service provider in this sector. The company has been adopting technology to enhance services such as GPS tracking and live temperature monitoring.

To support this demand, GAI has also redeployed employees from the general cargo division (for example, electronics, telecommunications products) to support the higher workload in the healthcare logistics division.

Mr William Chong, deputy chairman and senior managing director at GAI, said: "We are seeing new opportunities arising in this environment as demand for medication and research into vaccines for Covid-19 grows. Our company received more enquiries to ship clinical trials for vaccines, test kits, and finished pharma products during this period from our clients in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. With this new 'normal', lifestyles and work arrangements have to change. Old activities may become obsolete, while new opportunities will arise.

Therefore, it is important that Global Airfreight International continue to improvise and grasp the new opportunities during the challenging period, so as to ensure the company's sustainability and long-term future."

During the circuit breaker, many of Park N Parcel's collection points were made redundant, so it configured its processes and technology to provide contactless last-mile door deliveries. PHOTO: PARK N PARCEL
During the circuit breaker, many of Park N Parcel's collection points were made redundant, so it configured its processes and technology to provide contactless last-mile door deliveries. PHOTO: PARK N PARCEL

Park N Parcel, a Singapore e-commerce supply chain startup, has been working with partners to help logistics companies reduce the need for re-delivery, and making their delivery much more efficient and cost-saving.

During the circuit-breaker period, the closure of malls and other public areas meant that many of its collection points were made redundant. Park N Parcel turned around its business model overnight, and configured its processes and technology to provide contactless last-mile door deliveries instead.

Tan Gan Hong, chief operating officer of Park N Parcel, said: "This allowed us to continue to maintain our business during the circuit breaker, and capture the opportunities present with the increase in e-commerce deliveries' demand. Due to the ever-changing climate, we have strengthened our delivery capability."

Mr Law Chung Ming, director, transport and logistics, Enterprise Singapore, provided the impetus for companies to step up on their digitalisation efforts. He said: "To ensure business continuity and continued flow of essential goods during the pandemic, digital technology became a lifeline for many companies and their operations.

"The urgency for companies to adopt technology is even more evident as customers look for the added assurance transport and logistics players can bring to address operational risks to critical business functions and mitigate disruptions in supply chain flows.

"To remain competitive, companies should look at building new handling capabilities to service specialised verticals which are currently experiencing high growth, and are expected to continue growing post Covid-19."

Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.