PM Lee highlights JTC’s new focus and priority

PM Lee highlights JTC’s new focus and priority

 

Into its 40th year, JTC Corporation will be shifting its focus to industrial master-planning and strategic projects by selling assets in the flatted factories and business park segments, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at its anniversary dinner yesterday.

 

PM Lee highlighted the organisation’s evolving role as competition from rapidly emerging economies intensifies. From building and managing industrial facilities, JTC will now turn its attention to master-planning industrial estates, allocating land for industries and preparing land with the right configuration of facilities.

 

‘JTC’s priority is to meet the industrial land and infrastructure needs of existing and emerging industry clusters, be it the chemical companies at Jurong Island, the pharmaceutical players at Tuas Biomedical Park, or the new aerospace hub at Seletar,’ he said.

 

To take on these tasks, JTC will divest its flatted factory and business park assets substantially – it is selling its ready-built industrial facilities to Mapletree at the end of this month.

 

The private sector will play a greater part in developing these market segments instead. ‘Private developers like Boustead, Mapletree, Soilbuild and United Engineers have built up considerable expertise in flatted factories and business parks, and are well able to meet industry demands,’ said PM Lee.

 

Just last Monday, Soilbuild Group Holdings clinched a JTC award to build, own and operate a business facility at Tanjong Kling.

 

In turn, JTC will focus on filling market gaps. It is already involved in special projects which the private sector may find too large, risky or complex to handle, although they may foster future economic growth. The one-north development for the media, life sciences and infocomm industries is one such example.

 

Another challenge for JTC is to create more usable space to maximise the country’s economic potential. ‘Land will always be scarce in Singapore, but with human creativity and ingenuity, we can find new ways to do more with the limited amount of land we have,’ PM Lee said.

 

Such plans are already in the works. JTC is studying the use of very large floating structures out at sea for the storage of petrochemicals and oil products. It is also exploring the feasibility of increasing water depths around Tuas View to create more usable industrial waterfront land.

 

According to PM Lee, manufacturing remains an important growth engine for Singapore. Having done well in shaping the industrial landscape, JTC will have to remain dynamic to sustain the sector’s competitiveness.

 

JTC chairman Cedric Foo said the organisation will conduct a strategic review exercise to meet the new challenges.

 

Around 600 of JTC’s clients, partners and former management attended the dinner yesterday. Long-time customer Natsteel Asia, which leases about 38ha of land, appreciates the agency’s support over the years.

 

Natsteel’s senior vice-president of systems operations Eng Poh Tzan also hopes that JTC will keep land rentals affordable to help businesses.

 

Source : Business Times

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