E-commerce: a risky boom for international supply chains

Air freight peak season is in full swing ? and about to get even busier.

Big e-commerce dates are all happening in November, starting with Singles’ Day on November 11, followed by Black Friday on November 23, and Black Monday on November 26.

While Cyber Monday and Black Friday are traditionally US events, and Singles’ Day is thought of as a Chinese occasion, you can see these growing into global shopping (and shipping) events, with the air freight volumes to prove it.

E-commerce is the fastest-growing sector driving global air freight volumes. Lucas Kuehner, Panalpina’s global head of Air Freight, said in a blog post earlier this year: “We have gone from zero to an estimated 20,000 tons [of e-commerce air freight] in only two years. The actual figure is likely to be higher.”

Big online marketplaces and their suppliers are Panalpina’s most important e-commerce customers. This market is getting bigger as traditional stores are also increasingly turning to e-commerce, and to air freight. In its classic role as a consolidator, Panalpina is also interesting for smaller e-commerce customers.

“When doing e-commerce air freight you have to know exactly what you’re doing and deliver with speed and consistency. That includes staying on top of customs as well as dangerous goods and security regulations, because nothing can go wrong,” said Kuehner.

The boon and bane of freight consolidation for international e-commerce

Unhindered by national borders, legions of consumers will go online this month to purchase products online. After the final, effortless click, their international orders will be consolidated, transported and de-consolidated ? often multiple times.

“Only freight consolidation can make international e-commerce shipments affordable in the first place. Otherwise, transport costs, especially for air freight, would be too high and often in no relation to the price of the purchased product,” explains Kuehner.

“But the consolidation comes with challenges. In many cases, the original shipper details and the product information get diluted by a single commodity list provided under the name of the consolidator, who deals directly with a freight forwarder such as Panalpina. That makes e-commerce cargo riskier than other cargo.”

Freight forwarders, airlines, regulators and authorities are faced with three main challenges:

Firstly, third-party screening for compliance and security becomes difficult since the original shipper details are not transparent at the time of shipment booking.
Secondly, counterfeit and other forbidden illegal items can lead to delays and customs penalties for the shippers.
Thirdly, hidden, falsely declared or undeclared dangerous goods can jeopardize flight safety and the environment.
These challenges need to be addressed, because e-commerce is here to stay. It is estimated that there are currently over one billion online buyers in the world, and online shopping transactions continue to evolve rapidly as global e-commerce retail sales are expected to exceed $4.8 trillion by 2021.

Ensuring compliance with customs, dangerous goods and security regulations

So what does Panalpina do to mitigate risk in the international e-commerce supply chain as much as possible?

First of all, Panalpina handles e-commerce freight as a restricted commodity, meaning it requires prior approval from the company’s standards and governance experts, who evaluate the shipper, the commodity, and other shipment parameters and identify potential risks.

Panalpina has put in place global standard operating procedures for e-commerce freight to ensure a safe and seamless process from booking acceptance to handover to the carriers.

Furthermore, Panalpina has segmented e-commerce customers into three risk groups: low-, medium- and high-risk.

The company has also enhanced its shipper’s declaration for regulatory compliance to specifically address e-commerce-related risks. The amended declaration allows Panalpina, with the consent of the shipper, to perform physical checks and cargo security screenings when deemed necessary.

All of these measures mitigate risk in international supply chains that are inherent to the global boom of e-commerce.

For the 10th edition of Singles’ Day this coming Sunday alone, Alibaba expects to receive more than one billion orders.

The majority of these orders will come from within China. However, with Alibaba’s significant and growing presence in international markets across Asia, Europe and Latin America, scores of products will have to be shipped to consumers the world over too.

Panalpina is here to help in the background, playing a discreet but important role in ensuring that international e-commerce shipments comply with customs, dangerous goods and security regulations.

Panalpina How to transport concept cars and what is a car clinic anyway?

A car clinic is a market research instrument of the automotive industry where test vehicles are presented in a studio or a closed test track together with corresponding competitor models. The test car is usually a prototype that is road-worthy down to the last detail and does not differ much from the planned production line.

Car clinics are used by manufacturers to present concept cars to limited audiences and receive their feedback. This allows them to assess design concepts and define solutions for the interior considering potential consumer groups in different cultures and market segments before product launch. Strict secrecy must be maintained.

Under the scope of industry vertical Automotive, we often transport top secret prototypes between design and test centers, mainly in Europe, America, and Asia, for the world’s leading automotive brands. The service includes vehicle placement at multiple events, which can occur in rapid succession due to the tight schedules preceding a new model launch.

The cars are shipped by air to meet the strict timelines while maintaining confidentiality. Panalpina’s PAN-CAR(e)tainers are used to safely mobilize and protect the secret models from unwanted publicity.

Terex Corporation selects Kuehne + Nagel for digital supply chain management

Global transportation management through single point of contact
Greater visibility, speed and productivity via KN ControlTower
Geographical scope expanded to Europe and Asia

Kuehne + Nagel announced a multi-year contract extension with Terex Corporation, one of the worldwide leading manufacturers of lifting and material processing equipment. The relationship between Kuehne + Nagel and Terex started in 2013 and allows Terex to improve transport management control and visibility by leveraging the KN ControlTower capabilities.

The new agreement enlarges this relationship by including all Terex Corporation Business segments, expanding geographical scope to Europe and Asia and embedding the complete supply chain from raw material to end customers. Kuehne + Nagel serves as a single point of contact for Terex.

“This relationship emphasizes the pivotal role our end-to-end logistics solution has in supporting the needs of Terex Corporation’s global business and their customers. Additional digital solutions will allow Terex to include predictive analytics and digital supply chain modelling to create a faster and more predictable supply chain”, said Gianfranco Sgro, member of the Managing Board of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for Contract Logistics.

KN ControlTower is a Kuehne + Nagel Integrated Logistics product that provides managed services tailored to meet customer needs, simplifying supply chain complexity through integrated end-to-end solutions. It combines the company’s industry expertise, logistics resources and innovative technology to provide essential network coordination that delivers enhanced visibility of the flow of goods, data and payments. This enables customers to optimise logistics operating costs, lead times and inventory levels.

Panalpina: 6,000 km overland shipment from China to Kyrgyzstan

In barely 14 days, Panalpina completed a 6,000 km cross-border journey to deliver 125 tons of industrial equipment from Wuxi, a city near Shanghai, China, to Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan, for Swiss-based Bühler Group.

In light of China’s One-Belt-One-Road strategy, Bühler, whose core technologies are in the areas of mechanical and thermal process engineering, needed an overland transport solution for its first production line for export to Kyrgyzstan.

As Bühler’s global strategic partner, Panalpina used a tailor-made solution with eleven flatbed trucks to carry the 935-cubic-meter load. The equipment was collected at different locations in Wuxi and transported to Xinjiang in western China, and then across the border at Torugart Pass, one of only two border crossings between the countries. Once on Kyrgyz soil, the convoy headed north to its final destination at Tokmok.

Panalpina’s customized end-to-end solution included a cargo packing plan and wooden crate repacking to maximize loading capacity; customs clearance; and transshipment to foreign trucks.

The Panalpina Suzhou business unit acted as command center, setting up effective communication channels at multiple points in China and abroad for complete visibility and control.

Although cross-border trucking from China to Central Asia is a relatively new trend, it is becoming increasingly popular, as it represents a reliable and cost-effective solution with a high level of security.

Panalpina is well-known and appreciated in the Chinese market for its experience in handling scheduled and one-off overdimensional projects, and maintains a high level of readiness.

New sustainability pact between Panalpina and CMA CGM

Panalpina, the world’s fourth biggest ocean freight forwarder by transport volumes, and CMA CGM, one of the world’s leading shipping groups, have signed a sustainability agreement aimed at reducing their respective carbon emissions by 2025. As of 2020, newbuild LNG-powered mega-vessels with a capacity of 22,000 twenty-foot containers (TEUs) will help achieve the environmental goals.

Aiming at responsible development in ocean freight, Panalpina and CMA CGM have signed a sustainability agreement for maritime transport.

“Partnering with strategic partners such as CMA CGM that are technology driven and share a similar vision of sustainability, and using them to transport our customers’ cargo will help us achieve our ambitious sustainability goals,” says Lindsay Zingg, Panalpina’s global head of quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE). Panalpina is one of only 140 companies globally with approved Science Based Targets where the company ? amongst other targets ? commits to reduce CO2 emissions from subcontracted transportation by 22 percent by 2025 (baseline 2013).

CMA CGM, one of the world’s largest box ship carriers, aims to reduce carbon emissions per standard container (TEU) transported by 30 percent by 2025 (baseline 2015). “We are determined to reach that goal by investing in highly fuel-efficient vessels, making constant technical improvements, and retrofitting our fleet,” says Julien Topenot, head of environment and sustainability at CMA CGM.

LNG-powered mega-vessels to reduce carbon emissions

Marseilles-based CMA CGM, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, was the first shipping company to order container ships propelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG). Nine LNG-powered mega-vessels or ULCVs (Ultra Large Container Vessels) with a capacity of 22,000 TEUs are scheduled for delivery in 2020. “Compared to current fuel-powered vessels, our new LNG vessels will enable a reduction of up to 25 percent in CO2. They will also generate 99% less sulphur emissions, 99% less fine particles and 85% less nitrogen oxides emissions,” explains Topenot.

“We are already using CMA CGM’s most efficient and environmentally-friendly services. With this new agreement, both Panalpina and CMA CGM reinforce their commitment to sustainability,” adds Zingg.

In 2017, Panalpina transported 1.5 million TEUs, making it the fourth biggest ocean freight forwarder in the world.

In the same year, with a fleet of approximately 500 vessels including energy-efficient ships such as the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and more than 200 services that cover all of the world’s seas, CMA CGM transported 19 million TEUs.

For the environment and more

The scope of the sustainability agreement between CMA CGM and Panalpina goes beyond the reduction of the environmental impact via eco-friendly transport solutions. The companies have committed to collaborate, innovate and improve in four key areas: the environment, ethics and compliance, social responsibility, and community. Initiatives where CMA GGM and Panalpina intend to work more closely together include occupational health and safety programs, local sourcing as well as emergency relief and support.

Notes to the editor:

Since January 2015, Panalpina automatically calculates all customers’ emissions based on the reporting standard EN 16258. In December 2015, Panalpina committed to the Science Based Target Initiative, setting approved science-based targets and thus agreeing to actively manage emissions through reduced energy use and stakeholder engagement. Panalpina was one of the first companies globally to have such targets approved. They are in line with the views of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to keep global warming below a dangerous threshold. According to this panel of scientists, global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by up to 70% by 2050 to limit global warming to 2 °C and avert irreversible climate change. In a new report published on October 8, 2018, the IPCC highlighted a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by further limiting global warming to 1.5 °C instead of only 2 °C.

Following the International Maritime Organization’s historic decision in April of 2018, aimed at reducing the total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, CMA CGM reaffirmed its commitment towards the protection of the environment with the new 30-percent reduction goal by 2025. Prior to this, the CMA CGM Group had already developed several innovations (fleet and engine optimization, creation of Fleet Centers, etc.), which led to a reduction of its carbon emissions by 50% between 2005 and 2015 and by 10% in 2017 compared to the previous year.


CMA CGM is a leading worldwide shipping group with a young and diversified fleet of approximately 500 vessels. Its ships call 420 of the world’s 521 commercial ports. In 2017, they carried 18.95 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). Headed by Rodolphe Saadé, the CMA CGM Group is present in more than 160 countries with 755 agencies and more than 30,000 employees worldwide. 4,500 employees work in France, of which 2,400 at the Group’s head office, the CMA CGM Tower in Marseilles, the city where the company was founded in 1978 and today is the largest private employer.

Kuehne + Nagel strengthens footprint in Indonesia through strategic acquisition

Extension of strategic partnership with Wira Logistics through acquisition of its logistics operations
Establishment of nationwide logistics and distribution network to provide fully integrated end-to-end logistics solutions across Indonesia
Indonesia as one of the Asian key development markets forKuehne + Nagel’s contract logistics

Kuehne + Nagel announced the acquisition of the logistics operations of Wira Logistics, a leading Indonesian logistics company. This strategic acquisition will strengthen Kuehne + Nagel’s nationwide warehousing and distribution network in Indonesia.

Gianfranco Sgro, member of the Managing Board of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for contract logistics, says: “Indonesia is arguably the most important internet market in South East Asia in terms of its sheer size, emerging middle class and digitally savvy population. With this acquisition we can leverage our global eCommerce strategy. At the same time it allows us to strengthen our Contract Logistics footprint in Asia and our position as a leading logistics service provider. The tightened domestic network will further enhance our value proposition of providing fully integrated end-to-end logistics solutions to our customers across Indonesia.”

The expansion of Kuehne + Nagel’s warehousing and distribution capabilities in Indonesia where imports and exports account for close to US$ 300 billion annually has been a strategic focus for the company. The country’s burgeoning middle class is driving increased purchasing power making it an important consumer market for many companies.

“Kuehne + Nagel started operations in Indonesia in 1992. Over the years, we have become the logistics partner of choice for many blue chip multi-national corporations and local companies. These partnerships are a testament of our expertise and understanding of our customers’ needs, regardless of the size of their company. We are very excited by this acquisition and the additional opportunities that it will create for our business,” said Jens Drewes, President of Kuehne + Nagel South Asia Pacific.

“Wira is very proud to expand our fruitful relationship with Kuehne + Nagel. Our existing and future customers will stand to benefit from Kuehne + Nagel’s market-leading position, capabilities and global expertise,” said Ekahadi Djaja, President Commissioner, PT. Wira Logistics.

Sustainability strategy confirmed: Kuehne + Nagel included into SXI Switzerland Sustainability 25 Index

Most important sustainability index in Switzerland
Sustainability as an integral part of Kuehne + Nagel’s corporate policy

Kuehne + Nagel, one of the world’s leading logistics companies, was included into the SIX Switzerland Sustainability 25 Index, the most important sustainability index in Switzerland. It lists those 25 stocks of the SMI Expanded Index with the best sustainability scores. To measure this, it combines a set of about 90 core and industry-specific indicators.

Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG: ?We are firmly convinced that sustainable behavior lays the foundation for economic success. Sustainability is therefore since long an integral part of our business activities. We continuously monitor and evaluate the economic, social and ecological impacts of our activities. The admission to the SXI Switzerland Sustainability 25 Index is both a confirmation and an incentive for us.“

Kuehne + Nagel’s sustainability strategy aims at making transport and warehousing activities as efficient as possible and avoiding unnecessary transportations. By deploying innovative technologies, big data and predictive analytics Kuehne + Nagel further optimises the global supply chains of the customers, thus making them more sustainable. With tailor-made solutions, Kuehne + Nagel supports the customers in achieving their own sustainability goals. In May 2017, the company was the first logistics provider to disclose the associated carbon dioxide emissions on all seafreight invoices. This allows customers to monitor the CO2 emissions and reduce the environmental impact of their transport chains.

Kuehne + Nagel issues an annual sustainability report in accordance with internationally recognized standards. The 2017 Sustainability Report was launched a couple of weeks ago.

Panalpina How do you deliver a helicopter?

Ever wondered how helicopters get delivered from their place of manufacture to where they will operate? The obvious answer is they are flown there. But that isn’t always so. More often they are shipped, either via sea or air freight, to the country where they will operate. But how do you get something so big to where it needs to go? We turned to Juerg Boschung, head of Heliship for Swiss-based global logistics and freight forwarding company Panalpina, and a man who has been shipping helicopters for over 25 years, to give us all the answers…

Why can’t you just fly a helicopter to where it needs to go?
Well, in many cases, our customers could fly their helicopters to the destination, but it can actually be more expensive than shipping them. Also, once oceans have to be crossed, only a few of the bigger helicopters can safely attempt ‘ferry flights’ and usually those routes are not very direct. They involve a lot of island hopping.

Tell us about the first time you shipped a helicopter.
The first one, which was before I joined Panalpina, came quite unexpectedly. We had worked on and secured a contract from a major helicopter operator to deliver spare parts from Vancouver to many bases overseas and had only been shipping those parts for a few months when one afternoon I got a phone call: “Juerg, we need to ship a Sikorsky S61 from Thailand to Long Beach”.

How do you get a helicopter inside a plane?
This depends on the type of helicopter and cargo aircraft. For small and medium sized helicopters, the customer’s or manufacturer’s engineers will usually dismantle the helicopters partially and prepare it for shipment by 747 Freighter ? the Boeing 747 Freighter is the most suitable freighter used by scheduled carriers. The loading of the helicopters is usually through the side door. The helicopter is loaded onto airline pallets which are then put on the main deck loader, from where the roller bed system in the 747F is used to move the helicopter into the proper position inside the freighter.

Loading larger, or ‘heavy’, helicopters into an Antonov An-124 is a completely different thing. Much less dismantling is required and the helicopter is being towed by the Antonov loading team into the An-124, using a winch and a cable. The loading crews are very experienced, and it’s amazing how much can be made to fit into this freighter ? they can take up to four ‘heavy’ helicopters or six or seven medium helicopters.

How many helicopters have you shipped in your 25 years of doing it?
I’ve been too busy to count, but it’s definitely in the thousands.

But you ship other stuff as well, or do you sit around waiting for a helicopter that needs delivering?
Well, we don’t just sit around! But in fact my team only ships helicopters, nothing else. We always have helicopters on the move, and are always working on a number of quotes and projects that we hope will materialize soon. In addition to that we try to look ahead and find ways to meet expected needs of the helicopter industry.

What’s the most challenging delivery you’ve had to make?
Many of our moves are quite challenging and it’s not always the largest helicopters that are the most difficult to move. Often it’s the particular circumstances that make for tough moments, like unexpected flight cancellations or engine trouble causing vessel delays. If this happens during a shipment with a delivery deadline, this can be costly. It can also get quite interesting, and potentially costly, when we arrange air charters and a few days before the scheduled load date we are advised that the helicopters are not ready to go yet. We had such a project recently where we had to be quite flexible and a number of critical items only came together literally at the very last minute.

So how do you move a helicopter?
The main thing is detailed planning, considering carefully every step involved and making the required arrangements. It involves not only giving clear and detailed instructions to all subcontractors and offices involved, but then following up to ensure it’s all been understood and arranged. We always work with carefully selected carriers and partner offices overseas. Of course, in many instances we also have one of our specialists attend loading and offloading at ports or airports and hangars. We strive to provide peace of mind to our customers and monitor the movement of their helicopters from hangar to hangar, every step of the way.

Who are your customers?
Our main customers are helicopter companies that operate overseas. The majority used to be companies servicing the oil and gas industry, but that business has taken a downturn. What has picked up is international firefighting, where helicopters from North America are being shipped in October or November to the Southern hemisphere ? like South America or Australia ? to fight forest and bush fires during their summer, and then they return to North America in March and April to protect the forests during the summer there. Other civilian helicopter companies focus on providing support for the allied mission in Afghanistan. Search and Rescue contracts are also an important area where helicopters are required. Of course there are also many other situations where helicopters are being purchased and sold for various purposes, and they then need to be shipped to the new owner.

What’s the biggest number of helicopters you have moved in one go?
I think that was seven helicopters that we moved in one Antonov An-124 from Canada to Africa a number of years back.

How do you know a helicopter is fit to fly after delivery?
The licensed engineer who manages the re-assembly needs to certify this in the log book.

If you ship something by sea, isn’t the ocean spray corrosive to something like a helicopter?
That’s true, but we always request that the helicopters are loaded below deck. And we follow up just before loading to ensure this happens.

Panalpina Air freight on steroids

“At the end of the day you have to know exactly what you’re doing and deliver with speed and consistency.” ? Lucas Kuehner, Panalpina’s global head of Air Freight, on e-commerce air freight. (Photo by Dan Hadfield, Unsplash)
As the growth of e-commerce continues to drive international air freight, Panalpina’s global head of Air Freight, Lucas Kuehner, talks e-fulfilment and “air freight on steroids.”

“It started off as a chance conversation between two Panalpina colleagues: one in Amsterdam, the other in Shenzhen,” begins Kuehner. He’s talking about e-commerce, e-fulfillment and air freight. And you can tell he is excited. “We really value and encourage forward-thinking ideas at Panalpina, and these two guys gave us something that no other third-party logistics provider currently offers ? they gave us air freight on steroids.”

It’s a phrase Kuehner uses repeatedly during the next half hour. “I call it air freight on steroids because that is exactly what it is,” he says. “So, consider this: you are in e-commerce, you need to use international air freight. That’s where we come in. We offer full ULD collection, of course, and destination handling. Nothing unusual in that. But in Hong Kong and Amsterdam we now have bulk customs clearance. Bulk customs clearance,” he says it again, slowly and for emphasis. “That is absolutely unique. Nobody else does this. And then, of course, after the bulk customs clearance and pre-sorting at destination, we re-inject the goods into the supply chain for onward distribution.”

In the Netherlands

The advent of this air freight on steroids could not be better timed. With Panalpina posting record results last year for air freight, the company is very aware that the growing e-commerce industry will also positively impact its business, particularly as it is the only global player active in the Dutch cross border e-commerce market.

“Amsterdam Airport Schiphol gives us a fantastic foothold to deliver across Europe, and the bulk customs clearance together with the fact that we receive the shipments directly without going through a ground handler, allow for a quick delivery.”

This is vital within e-commerce. For the likes of Amazon and Alibaba, after their customers have clicked ‘buy’ everything after that is wasted time. While instant gratification ? in the shape of immediate delivery ? might not be possible, shaving time from an already-quick delivery is imperative.

And South China

E-commerce is the fastest growing sector driving global air freight volumes, and South China, where Panalpina has a dedicated Chinese-speaking, e-commerce team in place, is a key origin. “While it is difficult to put a precise number on e-commerce air freight, because it is not officially labelled as such, we have gone from zero to an estimated 20,000 tons in only two years. The actual figure is likely to be higher. We’ve managed exceptionally well to meet the expectations of big marketplaces and their suppliers, the latter being our most important e-commerce customers,” explains Kuehner. In addition to volume growth, Panalpina is focusing on expanding e-commerce transportation to other trade lanes including the transpacific route to the USA and to other European destinations.

Global peak season for e-commerce

“We have definite peaks in e-commerce, which has an impact on our air freight operations,” says Kuehner. “For example, with big dates like Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Singles’ Day all happening in November, it gets incredibly busy.” While Cyber Monday and Black Friday are traditionally US events, and Singles’ Day is thought of as a Chinese occasion, Kuehner argues that you can see these are growing into global shopping events, with the air freight volumes to prove it.

“Those peaks are welcome, of course, and they aren’t going to go away. But we also have to be mindful of our other customers. We cannot allow their operations to be affected by a tsunami of e-commerce.”

How does Panalpina manage that? “It’s quite simple,” says Kuehner, “we talk to our customers and let them know that space is going to be at a premium from November onwards, and that it is unlikely to get any quieter until February. We do all we can to communicate this, and we also pre-procure additional flights for the busiest lanes. “But if you want to guarantee space, you have to book early.”

Preparation is key for Panalpina

If November is the busy time for air freight, the months leading up to that are the busy ones for Kuehner and his global team. “Yes, now is the time to have all the planning in place,” he says. “And this market will get bigger not only because of the big existing e-commerce platforms, but others will have to follow suit too. Traditional stores are also increasingly turning to e-commerce, and to air freight.” In its classic role as a consolidator, Panalpina is also interesting for these smaller e-commerce customers.

“It’s not rocket science what we do. We own no assets ? we orchestrate everything. But at the end of the day you have to know exactly what you’re doing and deliver with speed and consistency. That includes staying on top of customs and security regulations, because nothing can go wrong,” concludes Kuehner

Panalpina opens new logistics center in Singapore

Panalpina, the Swiss freight forwarding and logistics company, has opened a new, purpose-built logistics center in Singapore. Strategically located at Pioneer View, the new facility is constructed over six floors and offers 25,800 m2 of usable warehouse space, which is equivalent to 3.5 FIFA-standard football pitches.

Speaking at the official opening of the facility, Panalpina CEO Stefan Karlen said: “Singapore is a very important consolidation hub for ocean and air freight. The nation-state is investing in the expansion of its ports, and a fifth runway is under construction at Changi Airport.” Karlen also stressed that 96 of Panalpina’s top 100 global customers have a base in Singapore.

“Against this backdrop, Panalpina plans to offer Air and Ocean Freight services including value-added logistics services to companies, particularly in the energy, healthcare, high tech, manufacturing, consumer and retail, as well as fashion industries.”

The majority of the space of the multi-purpose facility is already rented out to customers, and Karlen was keen to underline the importance of technologies to the Singapore facility, as well as to the company as a whole.

Panalpina plans to test and use many new technologies in Singapore, including the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, and various automation systems. The new facility could also run 3D printers on behalf of customers, meaning it could one day become a hub for distributed manufacturing.

Karlen, who himself was once based in Singapore, took the time to meet and chat with Panalpina’s front-line staff, as well as with attending dignitaries, including His Excellency, Mr Fabrice Filliez, Swiss Ambassador to Singapore.