21 Dec 2020
Mr Xu Wen, a Senior Property Manager (centre) and his team at Chengdu Frasers Logistics Hub in China, worked around the clock during the pandemic to get the necessary supplies and put in place the relevant measures to ensure the well-being of tenants and continuous operations of the logistics hub.
Mr Xu Wen recalled the desperate rush for masks and disinfectants as the Chengdu Frasers Logistics Hub management team under Frasers Property China grappled with the sudden COVID-19 outbreak in late January 2020, just days into the Lunar New Year.
Such supplies were running low and were needed so that the over 3,000 workers at the logistics hub could carry out their jobs safely. As Senior Property Manager, part of Wen’s responsibility was to ensure that essential food and medical supplies from the hub were distributed timely during the festive period. Both locally and globally, supermarket shelves were being wiped clean and supply chains stretched.
The priority was to solve the immediate issue then – an acute shortage of alcohol disinfectant, which was required by government regulations to be placed at checkpoints across the property. There was barely any available in Chengdu, a city 20 times the size of Singapore.
When Wen heard that the sanitising liquid was available 50km away in Guanghan county, he drove there first thing in the morning during the festive holidays. However, what should have been an uneventful two-hour return trip became a nine-hour ordeal due to road closures from quarantine measures. “I had to seize the opportunity to buy the sanitiser. There was no time to lose,” he said. He managed to lug back 200 litres worth of the solution in canisters, so that the property could function smoothly in a safe environment.
More work, few hands
Such determination shown by Wen and his property management team assured the 300 tenants – more than 50 of which are logistics-related companies – that they could continue their operations. However, it was no mean feat administering temperature checks, a single entry/exit route and rigorous cleaning in each development phase and across three phases totalling about 480,000 square metres of occupied compound in the logistics hub.
The shortage of personal protective equipment was compounded by a dearth of manpower. The New Year holiday meant that many of the hub’s employees had returned to their hometowns, and lockdowns prevented them from returning to work.
It was a mammoth effort readying the premises according to stringent government guidelines that evolved as the pandemic worsened.
“The health and well-being of our tenants, employees and community is of our utmost priority. We made swift decisions and moves to ensure the safety of the community and smooth operations at our logistics hub. Every department worked well together without complaints, and everyone was agreeable and understanding. Those on the ground implementing the measures worked the hardest and are the true heroes,” said Wen.
As for how he and his family felt when he had to soldier on during the festive period, Wen, who has been with Frasers Property for over a decade, said: “Of course my family was initially fearful for me. However, the situation was clearly urgent and unusual, and I could not abandon my post.”
Wen (second from left) studying floor plans of the Chengdu Frasers Logistics Hub to implement COVID-19 safety regulations.
Paving the way forward
The strong efforts by the team at Chengdu Frasers Logistics Hub were recognised by the Sichuan Chengdu Housing and Urban & Rural Development Bureau, with the property and its two management companies being accorded an “Outstanding Performance in Epidemic Prevention and Control, and Resumption of Work” certification.
Today, the province of Sichuan, of which Chengdu is the capital and key transport node for greater Southwest region of China, seems to have seen the back of the pandemic. Discussions are underway to resume travel between Singapore and the Chinese region.
The silver lining for the team, said Wen, is that it has developed a playbook to deal with such situations in the future, so that the logistics hub has a business continuity plan.
Mr Michael Chong, General Manager of Chengdu Sino-Singapore South West Logistics, Frasers Property China, who also oversees Chengdu Frasers Logistics Hub, said: “Our Chengdu team has shown tenacity and resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They have gone beyond the call of duty and braved through the uncertainties to put all necessary preventive measures in place to facilitate the smooth operations of the logistics hub. They have also displayed a strong collaborative spirit and worked closely with the authorities, tenants and agencies to pull through the crisis. True character always stands out in times of adversity.”
Wen (left) at one of the temperature-checking stations set up at the Chengdu Frasers Logistics Hub.