Korean eateries in Singapore get supplies on time but expect delays if South Korea’s truckers prolong strike
SINGAPORE — Most Korean restaurants in Singapore have not been affected by recent disruptions to South Korea’s supply chain that was caused by an ongoing trucker strike. Several of the 12 eateries approached by TODAY said that they have not seen any delays or hiccups in their orders of ingredients from South Korea.
- South Korean truckers have been on strike since Nov 24
- This was after the government refused their demands for fairer wages and better benefits
- The strike has caused problems for supply chains there, delaying billions of dollars worth of goods
- Some Korean restaurants in Singapore reported that they have not seen any delays in their supply orders
- If the strike drags on though, a few are expecting delays
SINGAPORE — Most of the dozen Korean restaurants in Singapore interviewed by TODAY said they have not been affected by recent disruptions to South Korea’s supply chain that was caused by an ongoing trucker strike.
For now, they have not seen any delays or hiccups in their orders of ingredients from South Korea. However, should the strike not end soon, some businesses are anticipating delays ahead.
Ms Annabelle Lee, one of the directors of Korean restaurant Kko Kko Na Ra, told TODAY that if the strike continues, it will "definitely have a problem with the shipment next month".
“Each time there’s a logistics strike, our shipments get delayed… so we have to pay double for faster shipping for urgent foods such as Korean flower crabs and chicken powder,” she said, adding that by paying more for faster delivery, the company incurs a loss on certain items on the menu.
At the moment, though, the impact of the strike does not look like it has reached Singapore.
Mr Raven Andrew, 28, an employee from Korean family restaurant Ga Ya Geum, said: “For now, there’s been no delays, all our deliveries have been coming on time.”
He added that the supplier has also not informed the restaurant of any problems at the moment.
An employee from Omma Korean Charcoal BBQ, who wanted to be known as just Yan, said similarly that supplies have not been disrupted. “If I order (ingredients) from my supplier today, it still arrives by the next day. As far as I’m aware, the suppliers haven’t mentioned any problems,” she said in Mandarin.
Over at Yogiyo Korean Restaurant, its manager Shane Chok, 28, said: “Our orders from the supplier still come very quickly. It’ll come by the next day if we order today.”
The strike in South Korea began on Nov 24, after its government failed to negotiate a deal with unionised truckers for fairer wages and better employee benefits for truckers in other industries such as those working with oil tankers.
TODAY has also reached out to five Korean convenience stores and the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Singapore for comments.
As the strike enters its 14th day, the South Korean government has ordered more truckers back to work.
Despite holding negotiations with these workers on Nov 28, the government still cannot end the strike that has delayed delivery of goods worth US$2.65 billion (about S$3.6 billion) in the first 12 days of the strike, it said.
These came at a time when the South Korean economy is still grappling with a high inflation rate while undergoing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the second major strike by truckers in the country within the last six months.
A strike earlier in June lasted eight days. A tentative deal was eventually struck with the government, ending the strike, but not before it cost the South Korean economy more than US$1.2 billion in lost output and unmet deliveries.
In an interview with news channel CNA, Ms Eon Lee, owner of Kko Kko Na Ra, said: “If this problem persists, we might have to increase our prices by 20 to 30 per cent. We have no choice.
“This isn't good for us or our customers. So we are worried and we hope the situation stabilises soon.”
CNA’s report said that online retail site Koodshot, which sells golf and tennis apparel brought in from South Korea, has seen nearly a third of its customers cancelling their orders due to delayed shipping.
Its owner Annabelle Bo Young Lee was quoted as saying that some of its Singaporean customers received their orders after three to four weeks.
“Every time there's a strike, we have really bad delays. There are delays for at least one to two weeks in Korea. So we've been handling very bad deliveries for the past few months.” she added.