SINGAPORE: A new airfreight facility that will be built as part of the Changi East project will increase Singapore's air cargo handling capacity from 3 million tonnes to 5.4 million tonnes per year.
Named Changi East Industrial Zone (CEIZ), the new facility will consist of air freighter terminals, air cargo express facilities and hangars for maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) services.
The new facility will be employing data and technology to improve work flow processes.
The Economic Development Board (EDB) said this is timely as the airport recorded its highest air cargo volume last year at 2.12 million tonnes.
This is the first time the figure has crossed the 2-million mark, and figures are set to rise with improvements in global and domestic trade.
“This strong growth that we are experiencing right now in the air cargo sector, puts us in a very good position to grow and transform the sector. And in terms of what we have seen in the deployment of technology, digitalisation and automation in companies like SATS on the ground, jobs will continue to be transformed,” said Carol Chong, director of logistics in EDB.
Ms Chong added this transformation has to be supported by upskilling efforts.
“It is a sector that has very strong dependency on labour. So automation and digitalisation will actually pave the way for more manual and labour-intensive jobs to be augmented. And create more meaningful and purposeful job roles, functions and activities for the workers of the future,” she said.
“We are also trying to get new capabilities for Changi's cargo handling by introducing robotics and more autonomous vehicles, and other technologies that will potentially lead to more efficient ways of handling cargo, and maybe result in paper saving and more efficiency for our cargo airline and cargo partners,” said Changi Airport Group’s managing director of air hub development, Lim Ching Kiat.
AIR CARGO FACILITY TO BOLSTER GROWTH IN THE REGION
Changi’s key air cargo pillars are in the fast-growing sectors of pharmaceuticals, perishables and e-commerce.
According to a report by Temasek, biomedical manufacturing currently makes up 18 per cent of Singapore’s total manufacturing sector. Sales are expected to value at S$532 billion by 2021.
Demand for perishables is also on the rise as Asia’s population is projected to grow to 5 billion by 2050. Asia is currently the largest food market.
Meanwhile, the e-commerce in Southeast Asia is expected to grow 16 times to S$117 billion by 2025.
With these, Changi Airport Group said that the existing Changi Airfreight Centre will eventually require more capacity, hence the need for another air cargo facility.
Phase one of CEIZ’s construction is expected to be completed by 2030. It will eventually merge operations with Changi Airfreight Centre via connecting taxiways.
The CEIZ will be also be built next to the upcoming Terminal 5, to support smoother transactions with the airlines.