With more than 40 years of experience in the logistics industry, Stanley Lim is a Council Member of the Singapore Logistics Association and the Chair of the Internationalization Committee. He is also the Chair of the FIATA World Congress Committee and a member of the Extended Board.
Stanley Lim: I first attended a FIATA World Congress in 1989 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Then in 1991, the congress was held in Singapore and that is when I was elected FIATA Vice President. In 2001, I joined the Presidency and held different positions, from Senior Vice President to Treasurer to eventually FIATA President in 2011. My current role as the Chair of the FIATA World Congress Committee will probably be my last before I step down and semi-retire. I talk about partial retirement because I have an energetic character and like to contribute to my industry, not only within organizations such as FIATA, but also relevant government agencies.
One thing that I am very passionate about is training. At FIATA, I was involved with the Advisory Body on Vocational Training and I have conducted extensive training both at the national and international levels. I spent 20 years training customs officers in Singapore, imparting the knowledge of freight forwarders to help the industry grow, and I continue to take part in activities such as training of trainers for UNESCAP to help bring FIATA’s name to greater heights in the Asian region.
SL: Singapore has advanced skills in the handling of logistics and freight forwarding. We embrace technology and digitalization, and are willing to share our know-how with neighbouring countries – especially ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). We are trying to impart our knowledge, so that our ASEAN countries can grow in tandem. At the Singapore Logistics Association (SLA), we participate in FIATA because we see the value in global exposure, and we know that we can also contribute our own regional knowledge and assist FIATA in helping the other countries to grow as well. SLA is always ready to participate, as you can see we have two representatives in the Extended Board. We are always trying to bring our views and experience in Asia to global policy matters that the FIATA Presidency may discuss.
SL: I have been awarded with two medals from Singapore, in 2001 and 2020, and it is an honour for me to have received these for my contribution to the logistics industry in Singapore and internationally. The first medal I received was the Public Service Medal (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat) which is a national honour awarded to persons who have rendered commendable public service in Singapore. I received this medal for my contribution to the various government committees in work related to the logistics industry, freight forwarding and supply chain management. I then was awarded the Public Service Star (Bintang Bakti Masyarakat) last year, which is an even higher level of recognition. I am very appreciative and honoured to get these two medals, and it is an honour to be able to use these post-nominal letters next to my name.
SL: I supported the implementation of the FIATA reset programme when it was proposed, and I can certainly see the many changes that have taken place over the past year. I believe that we now have a powerful team in Geneva, with different talents, and everybody has an exceptional role to play – especially the staff.
At FIATA, we need to innovate and transform. Any organization, in any industry, needs to know how to innovate and transform. We are living in the age of Industry 4.0. The fourth industrial revolution is here and we must adapt our work to stay relevant. Robotics are taking over the work of humans in manufacturing, so that humans can take on a better role (not become obsolete). We therefore need to make good use of technology to do our work, changing the process of manufacturing management, and I can see that happening in FIATA now. This is important; we are gearing toward the future and it is only the beginning.
SL: I started my involvement with the congress when there was the old format. We used to have many technical meetings take place with the different advisory bodies. However, as a member of a national association, if I go to the congress today, I want to listen to people and speakers that motivate us. This is what will attract attendance to the FIATA World Congress and this is the track to follow these days. Under my chairmanship, this is the path we are taking, which was supposed to be rolled out in Brussels, but now we will have to wait to see it in Busan once we can all travel again. The congress is a grand event for FIATA, which seeks to showcase and elevate the logistics and freight forwarding industry as well as the work of FIATA, and I look forward to seeing how it will evolve in the future.
SL: In every industry, we are pushing very hard on upskilling and capacity building. In logistics, we are embracing new technology so that it can help us better work. We need to train people and gear up to teach them to apply technology into their everyday work. Not only for their own companies, but also for the customers at large. Look at e-commerce, for example, and how it has grown so fast. The role of the freight forwarder has had to adapt to ensure last mile delivery.