Coming from DHL’s Customer Solutions & Innovation division, Leonora Lim, Vice President Life Sciences & Healthcare Asia Pacific, gives an insight into the increasingly demanding logistics needs of pharmaceutical clients and how DHL’s investments in the life sciences and healthcare sector have kept the company a step ahead.
What role does Singapore fulfill for DHL within the context of the Asia Pacific region?
Singapore plays an important role for DHL because not only do many of our clients have regional headquarters in Singapore, but also many of our own business units are based here, including DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. Also given Singapore’s strategic location, its connectivity to surrounding countries and its access to a 4 billion market (population) within a seven-hour radius, it fulfills an important function as a hub for DHL as well as the wider logistics community. Given these factors among many others, it has been a clearly logical decision to locate our regional headquarters here.
For the life sciences sector specifically, the Singaporean government has invested a lot to make healthcare and the life sciences a strategic sector for the country. As such, Singapore has strong capabilities across the life sciences value chain from clinical research to manufacturing, commercialization, and distribution. DHL is strongly present in Singapore to support this strategic sector and globally recognized pharmaceutical cluster.
DHL just completed a SGD 140 (USD 117) million investment in the South Asia Hub at the Changi Airfreight Center. In general terms, what are the key capabilities and the regional coverage of this hub?
The South Asia Hub was officially opened in October 2016 and it is operated by our DHL Express business unit, and is a testament to our efforts to continuously improve and bring value to the logistics industry. It is supposed to improve productivity by tripling our cargo handling capacity and processes shipments six times faster as compared the manual operations in the previous hub, which is an immense improvement. This has various implications for our customers, such as better connectivity, later cut-off times to drop off their shipments, and increased reach and speed in terms of sending products in and out of Singapore. At this time, this automated facility is tailored for more general cargo and, as the life sciences industry has many special handling requirements, we will continue to cater to these demands separately.