he year 2018 has been both a challenging and an exciting one for seafood merchants. With evolving consumer preferences, population demographics and seafood sustainability requirements , we face new challenges to provide a wider range, cheaper and fresher seafood and more convenient buying methods for customers. To meet these rapid changes in shopping patterns (whether it is online shopping for seafood, ordering of ready-to-eat food or change in buying habits of the dwindling number of household fish/seafood buyers from the traditional wet markets to one-stop supermarkets), we seafood supply merchants need to adapt. Are we still staying relevant doing only wholesale? Can we use more technology to be future-ready? For all these challenges, I am leading my fellow merchant members to think out of the box for creative solutions and business models.
With regards to the digital marketplace (an online wholesale seafood trading platform) mentioned last year, I am glad that we have achieved great progress. With the support of Enterprise Singapore, the three associations (Punggol Fish Merchants Association (PFMA), Seafood Industries Association Singapore and Singapore Fish Merchants General Association), are targeting to launch the digital marketplace by the second quarter of 2019. This online seafood trading platform will facilitate more international business-to-business trade between seafood merchants. Hopefully in the near future, it can be developed into a full portal with logistics, financing and insurance integrated.
Although the trade war between China and the United States is happening, there are still great business opportunities within ASEAN. The total trade volume between China and ASEAN is expected to hit US$1trillion by 2020. And with the China-Singapore Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, Singapore companies can now export faster to western China. With the online trading portal up, I am encouraging my fellow members to tap on the opportunities in ASEAN and China.
On behalf of the PFMA, I would like to thank the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) for its continuous guidance and support and also to extend my appreciation to Enterprise Singapore and Info-communications Media Development Authority for their kind support in helping to develop the digital marketplace.
The PFMA looks forward to working with the new Singapore Food Agency which will look after Singapore’s food safety and security from 1 April 2019 when the AVA will cease to exist.
Best wishes to Marshall Cavendish Business Information Private Limited for a successful Singapore Agri-Food Business Directory 2019.
Punggol Fish Merchants Association