PM Lee Hsien Loong's opening remarks at the Opening Ceremony of Supply Chain City on 22 September, 2017.
Dr Robert Yap, Executive Chairman of the YCH Group, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Very happy to join you today for the opening of Supply Chain City. As you heard from Robert, it almost didn’t happen and I am sure I caused him one of his headaches, but I am glad with his resourcefulness, with his idea of making it happen one day later, it enabled me to be here, and to share that one moment with him which must be one of great satisfaction and pride in what he has achieved over so many decades. Congratulations!
This is the latest milestone in the journey of YCH Group. From its humble beginnings as a small domestic passenger transport firm founded 62 years ago. Now a major logistics company, hiring 5,000 people across 16 countries, including in China, where YCH has a substantial presence, including Chongqing where we are doing the new third Government to Government project between Singapore and the Chongqing Municipality. But YCH’s home base is in Singapore, with an 800-strong local workforce.
Logistics is an important and promising sector for Singapore. Last year, it contributed more than 7% to our GDP, and employed over 200,000 workers. We have a well-connected airport and sea ports, and these enable logistics companies to serve the whole region efficiently from Singapore. Notwithstanding the higher land and labour costs. E-commerce in particular is growing particularly rapidly. It is supplanting traditional retail in many cases. The last mile of e-commerce, i.e. delivery to the customer, is where technology and innovation can really make the difference.
YCH’s new facility, Supply Chain City, is equipped with up-to-date technology with radio-frequency identification (RFID), and a state-of-the-art (ASRS) automated storage retrieval system for cargo. YCH will also test new technologies here, like autonomous vehicles and drones, augmented and virtual reality systems.
YCH’s decision to invest in such a facility five years ago was a wise one and a bold one. The logistics industry was facing tighter constraints in land and manpower. Technology was rapidly disrupting the industry, with sensors, robotics and cloud computing changing the game. But instead of being daunted by the challenges, YCH took the opportunity to harness these innovations to upgrade, and to stay a step ahead of its competitors.
We hope to have more companies like YCH in Singapore, homegrown, willing to adapt and innovate, and leading the charge to embrace new technologies and stay ahead of the curve.
Last year, the Government launched the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the logistics sector. It is to help our companies adapt to change, and become more productive and innovative. The Logistics ITM will support companies to adopt new technology and help our companies venture overseas and seize growth opportunities in our region.
Recently, we merged SPRING Singapore and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore to form Enterprise Singapore. The purpose is to provide more effective support to our companies. It is meant to reach small companies, SMEs, many of whom are vibrant and can do, advise and support and encourage them to grow big like YCH. But also to support not so small companies, like YCH, who have made the effort, who are upgrading themselves and who are going into the region and building the Singapore brand. With Enterprise Singapore, we will be able to provide these companies, whether small ones, startups or big ones, a wider range of Government resources and services, and better support.
If this ITM is successful, and we must make it succeed, by 2020, the logistics industry should achieve a value-add of S$8.3 billion and create 2,000 new PMET jobs. Some of these will demand different and deeper skills from today, because new technologies and new ways of work become mainstream. Therefore, our companies must also invest in people, to develop talent, retrain their staff and nurture deep knowledge and soft skills, the way YCH described it with it LEARN acronym. The Government will play its part to attract, nurture and retain a strong Singaporean core of talent for the logistics industry. We will train people ahead of demand, through our universities, our polytechnics and through the ITE. We will support mid-career professional conversion programmes to augment the talent pipeline. EDB, SPRING, SSG and WSG are launching the Skills Framework for Logistics today. Together, we can maintain our status as Asia’s leading global logistics hub.
I wish YCH every success and I am happy to declare the Supply Chain City open for operations. Thank you
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