You are about to access an external page. Its content may not be accessible to all users.

Singapore: Asian powerhouse

A small team of six is representing Swiss WorldCargo at Changi Airport in Singapore, one of South East Asia’s busiest hubs for global trade – and one of the world’s most efficient for performance, value and facilities.

Singapore is one of the most prominent capitals in Asia, playing a significant role in global finance, business and trade. As a result, freight industry has also continued to develop. With one of the largest ports in the world, this may seem as a given, but increasingly, airfreight is also playing a dominant role and Changi Airport now handles almost 2 million tonnes of cargo yearly, serving as a hub for worldwide flights.

Swiss WorldCargo first became active in Singapore in 2013, corresponding with the launch of a daily nonstop flight between Zurichand the small city-state. Clocking in at over 12 hours, the flight is one of the longest in the SWISS “ultra long-haul network” and is operated by a Boeing 777-300ER.  In addition to ferrying business and holiday travellers between both destinations (and further on), the flight also plays a major role for cargo traffic. With a variety of financial interests connecting both cities, different high-value goods connect both markets, opening the doors to major global trade.

Daily flight LX176 depart Zurich at 22:45 CET and arrives to Singapore at 18:00 local time, enabling a perfect connection for all European and IC incoming shipments into Asia. In the other direction, flight LX177 lands in Zurich early in the morning allowing fast connections to all the main European destinations within 90min+ and to the US destination on SWISS’ midday flights, arriving in the afternoon.

Pharmaceuticals, Valuables and eCommerce

One of the cornerstones of this route is regular pharmaceutical traffic. High end Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) are shipped from the large pharma R&D plants based in Singapore to Switzerland and further on to the US (mainly San Francisco, San Juan, Boston) for mass fabrication.  In the other direction, with many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms located in and around Basel, Switzerland, shipments are regularly sent via truck to Zurich and then onwards to Singapore. Here, either finished products or raw materials are sent to a variety of local distribution centers as either active or passive shipments.

Upon arrival, these are then either packaged and stored or sent directly to clients worldwide. In 2012, Swiss WorldCargo, SATS and Cargologic established a series of “Quality Corridors,” linking Zurich and Singapore with the highest standard of quality, temperature-controlled offerings between both locations.

Likewise, Singapore’s station sees regular valuables shipments, for which Swiss WorldCargo offers additional protection. These products can include banknotes and gold from local refineries, which are sent to a variety of destinations globally.

Finally, Singapore has also become an important eCommerce hub for global shipments also plays a vital role to and from. With a close partnership with Singpost, Swiss WorldCargo’s Singapore station is able to handle a variety of goods which are distributed worldwide.

Considering the shipments which play an important role, such as active and passive pharma products, there is a strong focus on products including Swiss X-Presso, which require a certain degree of speed. Live tropical fish (LTF) and frozen fish fillets are also frequently shipped from Singapore to Eastern Europe and Canada.  

Standing on the top, left: Lalin Sabuncuoglu. From left, bottom: Mohamed Rohani, Christian Hisserich, Fred Tang, Trina Chiang and Candice Tan.

The Swiss WorldCargo team

Swiss WorldCargo’s team in Singapore is small, but efficient. Led by Christian Hisserich, they are responsible for the daily flight LX176/LX177. Christian, who has led the office for the last three years, focuses on relationships with local clients, business development, and long-term opportunities for the global network. Candice Tan, his deputy, oversees day-to-day shipments, ensuring that flights reach capacity, and that operations run smoothly. They are supported by Trina Chiang (Outside Sales) and Norfaziela Idris (Inside Sales & Customer Service) on the commercial side as well as Fred Tang and Mohamed Rohaimi, in charge of Operations Planning. The Head of Cargo Far East, Lalin Sabuncuoglu, is also based in Singapore. Besides Singapore, from there she manages China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Japan and Thailand.

Ground handling is managed together with partner SATS, which ensures that everything from safety checks, operational review, processing cargo and the actual loading and unloading of the aircraft is done safely and efficiently. SATS is one of the global leaders on Ground Handling activities when it comes to efficient process developments and automated technologies with its state of the art temperature control facilities “Coolport”, as well as its very own brand new eCommerce hub.

Shipments from LX176/LX177 originate from, or are taken to, SATS’ Coolport handling facility. Here, temperature-controlled storage provides vital protection and safety for shipments ranging from pharmaceuticals to raw materials. The Coolport, with its storage options, provides an important resource for the variety of shipments exchanged between both destinations.

Additional network

The wider network from Singapore includes Malaysia and Indonesia, both of which are handled by GSAs. Penang and Kuala Lumpur are both destinations handled by truck shipments, whereas Penang is by far the most active production site. In Malaysia, there is a focus on microchips, semiconductors, and hi-fi products. In 2017, an additional station was opened in Indonesia, which mostly provides commodities of garments, shoes and apparels.

Of course, in the globally-dominated trade world, the Singapore – Zurich route is not reflective of just these two destinations. Instead, shipments are often sent onwards throughout the Swiss WorldCargo network. Regular traffic also extends to destinations such as New York, San Francisco. Even Miami, which is used as a distribution point for goods throughout Latin and South America, benefits from traffic that is first shared via Singapore and processed for onwards shipping at Zurich’s hub. The U.S. commands a significant amount of pharmaceutical business, while other focuses are Switzerland, and by extension, the rest of the European continent.

Conclusion

Swiss WorldCargo’s Singapore station provides regular traffic of shipments between two vital financial, pharmaceutical and business centres. Both in terms of passenger traffic and cargo volumes, this station offers important business opportunities for customers everywhere.