Self Storage Association Asia (SSAA), a trade association dedicated to supporting self-storage operators and suppliers in emerging markets along the Pacific Rim, has issued a statement warning customers not to store banned items or engage in illegal activity at storage facilities. It’s also encouraging facility operators to display a public-safety poster that includes a list of activities and stored goods that are prohibited at their properties.
“The SSAA is aware of the seizure of contraband cigarettes in a self-storage facility located in Singapore,” association officials said. “The SSAA takes the matter seriously and cautions all customers not to engage in activities and store items that are prohibited at self-storage facilities across Asia.”
Customs officials last week seized 5,635 cartons of contraband cigarettes from a self-storage facility in Northeast Singapore. The shipment was imported from China under the declaration as decorative items, with many of the cartons hidden inside picture frames, according to a source. Unpaid duty on the cigarettes totaled more than S$437,000, while unpaid goods and services taxes was S$44,000. Singapore officials advised self-storage operators to “exercise proper due diligence in screening persons renting their facilities.”
Though storage operators in Asian countries don’t typically require customers to declare the nature of the goods they are storing, “[tenants] have to declare that they are not storing illegal or inflammable items,” the SSAA statement said.
The association issued the public-safety poster this summer after two storage-facility fires in Hong Kong killed two firefighters and injured another. The blazes prompted government officials to suspend self-storage development inside industrial buildings, while agencies conducted safety checks throughout the region.
“The poster helps to standardize communications across our members' facilities so their customers are clear about the prohibited activities and items from the outset,” said Helen Ng, SSAA chair. “We want both service providers and customers to have top-of-mind awareness of fire prevention and public-safety guidelines from the moment the customer decides to lease a storage space.”
SSAA is also working with members to develop a template by which customers can declare storage items by category, such as books, furniture and office documents, officials said.
Launched in 2014, SSAA supports members' interests to help grow the self-storage industry in Asia.