DB Schenker – Singapore: A Vital Node in Singapore’s Logistics Ecosystem
Singapore’s Status a Global Hub
From its peak, 97% flight capacity was reduced from Singapore Airlines. Typically, 45% to 50% of cargo is carried in belly holds of aircraft. With such dramatic reductions in flights, Singapore’s status of a logistics hub was put severely at risk.
However Singapore has managed to preserve it position as a global trade hub. With broad-based support packages, targeting hardest-hit industries like aviation, coupled with support of a strong logistics ecosystem, reinforced by global players such as DB Schenker.
2021 marked DB Schenker’s 51st year in Singapore. The organization has come a long way since its formative years. It is currently operating in 12 facilities across the island, with possibly the largest contract logistics footprint in Singapore. DB Schenker Singapore has also cemented the position as a key pillar in Singapore’s logistics ecosystem, being the number one air exporter (for freight forwarding) and attaining market leadership in ocean freight as well.
The contributions of DB Schenker Singapore toward Singapore’s status as a global trade hub have not gone unnoticed. In October 2020, DB Schenker hosted a high-profile delegation comprising key government agencies amongst whom, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Manpower, Economic Development Board and Workforce Singapore at the Red Lion facility – Schenker Singapore’s premier integrated freight and logistics facility.
On October 29th, the company has also been featured in Channel News Asia’s docuseries “Becoming a Global Hub”, underscoring the key role that Schenker plays in Singapore’s standing as a vital node in the global supply chain.
Schenker Singapore, Turning Adversity into Opportunity
Keeping Supply Chains Moving
“Keep supply chains” moving has been one of Schenker’s guiding principles while navigating through the choppy waters of the pandemic. Even at the height of the pandemic, business continuity plans were quickly activated to ensure minimal impact to operations. With ensuing lockdowns in the various countries, the company was able to free up large amounts of space to act as buffer storage as connectivity to markets diminished overnight.
The incessant flight cancellations caused major constrains to capacity. To overcome this, Schenker Singapore embarked on flight charter solutions. To date, they have completed close to 100 air charter flights for their customers, keeping their supply chains moving in-spite of the circumstances. These charters included flights that carried life saving medical equipment to remote places like Kathmandu.
DB Schenker’s strong network of multimodal solutions also helped mitigate the impacts of black swan events like the incident at the Suez Canal. With longstanding strategic partnerships with the carriers, they were able to switch freight modes with ease, even amidst the tight market. Overland transport solutions from Singapore all the way to China & even Europe were also executed to executed to keep supply chains moving.
Through this trial by fire, DB Schenker Singapore has managed to turn adversity into opportunity, forging even stronger partnership and building greater trust with their customers and partners.
Continued Innovation even Amidst the Pandemic
Even pre-pandemic, DB Schenker has been a firm advocate of digitalization. This investment in equipping employees with future ready skillsets has put the organization in good stride to tackle the challenges brought on by COVID-19; allowing Schenker to accelerate investments and efforts in innovation even as many other organizations are struggling to stay afloat.
One of the key achievements in 2020 was the automation systems commissioning and go-live of the integrated Red Lion facility in May – at the height of the pandemic. With multiple automation systems in place and various sub-systems requiring seamless integration. 2020 has also seen an accelerated push for more digitalization projects in the organization; with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), PowerApps and Python based projects widely implemented in the various operations.
Another notable project launch is the DB Schenker’s digital twin. The digital twin allows for internal operations as well as customers to view the various processes, along with detailed metrices throughout the facility. With customers and some staff unable to have full access to operational sites, the digital twin has proven to be a useful tool to provide internal and external stakeholders with actionable intelligence to take proactive measures to achieve maximum efficiency.
A Continued Focus on People
Customers have reaped tangible benefits from these projects and have recognized DB Schenker as a front-runner in innovation and digitalization.
DB Schenker Singapore’s philosophy of having “Putting People at the heart of everything we do” remains unyielding even in adversity. Where many companies have exercised cost cutting measures, Schenker has conversely stepped-up investments in our people. For example, in 2020, over $SGD 1 million was spent in developing our employees through training. In 2021, DB Schenker has also launched a comprehensive e-learning platform, comprising of over 1,000 courses; empowering employees to take learning into their own hands as face-to-face trainings are put on hold.
Aside from work-relevant skills development, DB Schenker Singapore has also put in place numerous well-being programs during these trying times. The company has engaged with healthcare partners for mental well-being workshop as well as launching an employee assistance program where staff can connect anonymously to a professional counsellor.
The company has also been no stranger to grooming budding logistics talent. Every year, Schenker partners with institutes of higher learning to undertake capstone projects. These projects give students a platform for practical application of their field on study on real-world industry problems; with Schenker reaping the benefits of gaining access and fresh perspectives to the latest advances in the field of academia.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our generation. DB Group has set ambitious targets to reduce specific CO2 emission by 50% by 2030 compared to 2006. DB Schenker in Singapore are focusing our efforts on being a cleaner and greener organization. Starting from within, the organization has apportioned “green space” for its Green Finger project. These green spaces are essentially vegetable gardens where employees plant vegetables and herbs which can be subsequently harvested for personal consumption. The compost for these gardens is from food waste generated from the staff canteen. Such projects help cultivate a green mindset among the employees and help foster a sustainable culture from the ground up.
DB Schenker can offer Eco-solutions for every mode of transportation. This allows customers to reduce or compensate for CO2 emissions along the entire supply chain. In partnership with Lufthansa Cargo, DB Schenker launched the first regular carbon neutral cargo flight connection in history, saving around 174 metric tons of conventional kerosene each week. In Singapore, the company also utilizes a fleet of electric vans to carry out zero-emissions deliveries island-wide.
The latest Red Lion facility has a plethora of green features – solar panels to energy-efficient fittings; it is the first facility in Singapore to attain the LEED v4 gold certification, also the largest such facility in South East Asia. This year also saw the launch of the upcycling hub – a collaboration with Airlab and SUTD, where logistics by-products like pallets, plastic wrap and other waste material are transformed into useful furniture and fittings for staff’s dining and recreation area.
Singapore’s push to reopen its borders progressive help preserve her status as a global trade hub. With the top 25 global logistics players operating through our island nation, many of which have successfully managed to navigate push through the headwinds brought about by the pandemic, coupled with sound government policies and a robust social compact; will solidify Singapore position as a vital node in the global