SINGAPORE — To support the growth of e-commerce in Singapore, logistics company UPS has expanded its operations hub in Changi Airport, and customers can expect to get their parcels sooner.
Earlier in March, it announced that it has upped the overall size of the UPS hub by 25 per cent. The company said this would enable its facilities to process 40 per cent more import packages while also speeding up delivery times to almost 5,000 additional postal codes in Singapore.
"More customers can expect to receive their packages several hours earlier, by noon or 2pm," said UPS in a statement.
Meanwhile, export processing capacity is also boosted by 45 per cent, thus enabling pick-up cut-off times for all export services to be extended by an hour.
Advanced frozen and cold storage solutions have also been installed at the expanded hub to allow temperature-sensitive healthcare shipments such as vaccines to be safely stored onsite. These include refrigerators and freezers that can maintain temperatures between -20 to 25 degrees Celsius to facilitate the temporary storage of shipments being transported.
“Due in part to the impact and ongoing legacy of the pandemic, we've seen a significant increase in demand for e-commerce and complex healthcare shipments in recent years, a trend we expect to continue for some time,” said Chika Imakita, managing director of UPS Singapore.
Potential in e-commerce
According to a 2022 survey by Meta and Bain & Company, total e-commerce sales in Singapore is expected to reach S$19.6 billion by 2027. Last year, total e-commerce sales volume amounted to about S$12.6 billion.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance Singapore, Imakita said that "roughly one in five" retail purchases are now made online, with the pandemic as a likely growth driver for e-commerce despite already growing exponentially before.
Furthermore, with better Internet connectivity, growth in the space is expected to accelerate further. "Nearly 700 million additional people in APAC will join the Internet population by 2025, strengthening e-commerce access," said Imakita who cited results in UPS' Intra-Asia study. The study conducted a survey on 198 businesses located in and with trade interests across 12 Asian countries that included Singapore.
"Essentially all a business owner needs now is an Internet connection, something to sell, someone to sell to and means of getting their product to their customer."
According to Imakita, the experience during the pandemic has led many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to "re-examine their supply chains through diversification and digitalisation in order to protect against future shocks".
Understanding how to diversify supply chain risk, staying up to date with the latest customs requirements and optimising free trade agreements can become "huge opportunities for international growth", said Imakita.
"It's also the case that a company’s business plan is now likely inseparable from their plans to digitalise and we continue to develop ways to help SMBs do this — for example by using AI to learn a customer's shipping habits so we can prevent customs delays," she added.