Technological advancements will create good job and career progression opportunities in the logistics sector, a key industry for Singapore, Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang said yesterday at the opening of the DHL Express’ S$140 million South Asia Hub at Changi Airport.
The South Asia Hub has 250 employees planned for this year, according to DHL, which currently employs around 1,250 people in Singapore, undertaking regional as well as global headquarter activities. The new hub processes up to 24,000 shipments and documents an hour and can handle over 628 tonnes of cargo during the peak processing window — tripling the logistics giant’s capacity and processing shipments six times faster compared to the manual operations in the previous hub.
Logistics is one of the key industries identified under the Industry Transformation Maps announced in the Budget. Mr Lim noted that DHL’s new facility operates an integrated six-sided camera scanning and weighing system that fully automates the entire barcode location and package dimensioning process.
“With this system, workers in the air express operations no longer have to manually locate barcodes on packages and measure their dimensions to generate the volumetric weight. This is a good example of how technology can help to create a more conducive and ergonomic environment for the workers,” he said.
As technology boosts efficiency, workers get to upgrade their skills for functions such as quality control and supply chain management among others. “We started long ago training our people on doing things differently. This has also upgraded their skills, but what is also important is that a part of this monotonous work has disappeared,” said Mr Frank-Uwe Ungerer, managing director DHL Express Singapore.
The transportation and warehousing sector accounts for 7 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product, said transport expert and SIM University senior lecturer Park Byung Joon.
“The Singapore economy is not the strongest at this point, so we see that a lot of jobs are going. Even though logistics is not rosy in performance, compared to other business sectors, the prospects for the logistics sector are relatively strong.
“If you look at the finance sector, you see reduction in jobs … For the logistics sector, we see some reduction but it is not as bad as the other sectors … The logistics sector will be one of the strongest area in jobs figures in the current Singapore climate,” he said.
“High-technology functions reduce mundane labour work and in that sense definitely there is some reduction in human manpower but that is a good thing. Because for a lot of such vocations we rely on foreign workers and we can cut out those jobs. Also with the high-tech capabilities we can also free up manpower from warehousing jobs,” he added.