While reports mentioned that Singapore’s manufacturing sector will weaken in the first half of 2016, the supply chain and logistics industry can still expect the country to continue its focus on driving efficiency and addressing complexity.

The supply chain and logistics sector in Singapore contributes to at least 9 per cent of the country’s GDP. As such, regardless of the economic uncertainties, the industry receives strong support from the local government, and has been frequently referred to as the lifeblood of its economy. What sets Singapore apart from other countries in the region is its aim to offer a unique value proposition to companies – one that is built on solving sophisticated problems through research and innovation, and providing a conducive environment to pilot and commercialise new solutions.

To start, Singapore is making use of its strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia by developing its facilities and infrastructure. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has signed a US$1.83 billion deal to construct a new port terminal on reclaimed land. Once completed, the Tuas Terminal Phase 1 project is expected to have 20 deep-water berths with a capacity of 20 million TEUs per year. Singapore will start to consolidate its world-class container port facilities at Tuas from 2030. New technology will be introduced at the greenfield site to create a hypermodern, innovative and largely automated logistics hub.

Despite Singapore’s limited landspace, there are an estimated 4,000 trucks performing more than 20,000 delivery trips and taking up an estimated 25 per cent of road space. It is about time that the country comes up with more innovative and radical solutions to overcome this challenge. Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and SPRING Singapore are looking at ways to reduce the number of trucks on the road by ensuring that logistics companies consolidate and coordinate the delivery and reception of packages from warehouses. This will reduce the number of multiple trucks sent to the same location.

In addition, there are strong efforts by Singapore to strengthen the skills of its workforce to encourage local talent to take on more sophisticated roles and eventually leadership positions. Developing supply chain management expertise specifically for Asia also serves as an additional differentiating factor as it will help businesses in Singapore navigate the trade landscape in the region and capture new growth with rising intra-Asia trade. With MPA recently announcing a US$46.8 million investment into attracting talent to the maritime sector, Singapore can expect its local workforce to raise its game and compete with its global peers.

With such initiatives and support, the nation seems set to maintain its position as a regional and global logistics hub.