DHL Express CEO John Pearson (Photo by Noreen Jazul)

DHL Express rides high on Singapore’s globalisation wave

The deployment of DHL and Singapore Airlines’ fifth US-SG freighter exemplifies the success of solid partnerships.

NEW DELHI, India — Facing limitations in establishing more facilities in Singapore, DHL Express is foresting growth in the most globally connected nation through new and strengthened existing partnerships.

“It is by close partnership, close associations, and close relationships [that] we ride the wave of globalisation that Singapore has created for itself [and] is managing very efficiently and effectively with a long term view and a near term view,” DHL Express CEO John Pearson told Singapore Business Review.

“If we have good partnerships and discussions and conversations, we’ll be at the forefront of those people that people want to deal with. We’re in a good position to take the opportunities presented to us,” Pearson added.

Amongst DHL Express’ partners is Singapore Airlines, with which the international express service provider has entered into a crew and maintenance agreement for the deployment of five Boeing 777 freighters. In December 2023, the partners deployed its fifth and final US-Singapore freighter.

“We’ve been in Singapore for an extremely long time. We celebrated our 50th anniversary there two years ago. That talks to [sic] how long we [have been] there. We’ve invested heavily in the country more so than, maybe, other transport and logistics providers,” Pearson added.

Apart from forging partnerships, Pearson mentioned that the DHL Express has been strengthening its presence in Singapore through investments in its South Asia hub at Changi Airport.

“We’ve invested in technology. We’ve invested in our facility infrastructure, and we’ve invested in aspects of digitalisation on top of the technology I referred to and will continue to do that,” the CEO said. “The investments in the Southern Asia hub in Singapore, in our gateway, and our service centres have continued to roll and you don’t need to do that unless you’re growing.”

Most globalised country

Singapore’s significance to DHL, evidenced by its role as the location for the service provider’s South Asia hub, is further amplified by the island state’s exceptional connectivity.

According to the company’s Global Connectedness Report, Singapore is the most globalised country in the world, besting 180 markets in terms of international flows.

In the index, countries are scored based on two dimensions: depth or their international flows relative to total activity; and breadth or the distribution of international flows across countries.

The report established that Singapore has the largest international flows relative to domestic activity, topping the depth dimension with a score of 99.0/100.

Pearson said Singapore’s placing does not come as a surprise. “[Singapore] has always been in the podium position of the Global Consciousness Report. [This year], it is in the Max Verstappen pass of the podium, winning the race,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to live in Singapore. I know very well the policies and the efforts of the EDB (Economic Development Board) and others to attract investment and do all the good things they are doing on all four pillars [of the report],” he added.

The four pillars of the report are trade, capital, information, and people. Singapore ranked 1st in trade, 1st in capital, 4th in information, and fifth in the people pillar.

Pearson underscored that having a well-developed logistics infrastructure system plays an important role in enhancing a country’s connectivity to the world.

“What we find with the Global Connectedness Report is that those countries with well-developed infrastructure, whether that’s rail, or road, or airports, facilitate trade better than those that don’t. If countries have invested wisely in that area of business, they become more successful,” the CEO said.

For DHL, supporting countries in improving their global connectivity is an active commitment.

“Continued investment in any infrastructure and logistics makes the customer experience extremely high,” said Pearson, so DHL invests persistently in its network, whether through acquiring new aircraft or upgrading its hub infrastructure in Asia.

Right now, businesses strive to serve their clients in fiercely competitive markets. Pearson believes demand for higher quality standards has never been greater. “Any delays or friction in a supply chain is something that disadvantages the customers’ customers,” he stressed.

And that is why DHL works hard to maintain its extensive functional and supply chain network, spanning e-commerce, warehousing, sea freight, air freight, and express services.

“I think those that are establishing themselves to have the most seamless supply chain operations are those that succeed,” concluded Pearson.

READ MORE: Internal environment trumps openness policies in global connectivity

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