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How the Lion City is planning for the next half century

Market Report 2015


Singapore Straight 3 Editor’s Comment 5 Government 7 SSA 9 Survey 12 Port 15 Owners 21 Offshore 25 Bunkering 29 Maritime Singapore at 50 41 Finance 43 Yards 47 Shipmanagement 48 LNG 50 Haze

51 Piracy 53 HR 57 Events 59 Travel 60 MarPoll


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No time to rest on laurels


hipping folk do like to whinge. Not surprising in today’s climate, I admit, but even in the best of times they’ll find something to moan

about. We use this title for the local shipping community to have a moan, to raise issues that government should react to – it is the third time we’ve polled Singapore maritime and I am proud to say each time we note how local authorities do genuinely read your thoughts and opinions and try to come up with solutions. As in previous years common gripes include rising costs and the lack of available local talent, and by extension the restrictive immigration laws in place since 2012. Yet, let’s just take a step back and admire how this little island-nation has come to rule the maritime roost in a very short amount of time. Singapore has topped many polls of late crowned as the world’s top international maritime

Esben Poulsson, himself a Hong Kong resident

centre. It has in the space of a decade completely

for many years, warns Singapore’s maritime

usurped Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s shipping

community now is not the time to rest on laurels.

hub. Tellingly, when putting together a magazine

He and the authorities continue to explore what

for Hong Kong this year, of 250 people interviewed

areas of the Singapore maritime setup could be

more than 80% said Singapore would be their

strengthened: finance and insurance are high up

choice to set up in Asia were it not to be Hong

on the agenda. Hopefully, they’ll take some of the


suggestions from our readers in the following

Singapore’s rise to the top has been remarkable

pages to heart too.

and is brilliantly charted in the centre pages of this magazine by award winning author Paul French, who takes readers through the republic’s maritime history as our own tribute to the Lion City’s 50th anniversary. What I find admirable is all the talk from the powers that be to make sure that this maritime dominance continues. Here the example of Hong Kong can once again paint its own picture – dithering, hubris and little leadership has seen it throw away its Asian mantle. Singapore Shipping Association president

Sam Chambers Editor

Across the World



‘Human capital is the key enabler for the future of maritime Singapore’ Extra money is being spent to develop interest in maritime careers, but more is needed


eo Chee Hean, Singapore’s deputy prime minister, received a rousing round of applause in late

September when announcing a further raft of initiatives designed to get more Singaporeans involved in the maritime sector. In the next five years, the Sectoral Tripartite Committee for Transport (Sea) led by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) hopes to attract more than 1,200 Singaporeans to join the maritime sector as seafarers and port operations officers. Speaking as guest of honour at a packed Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) dinner, Teo (pictured) outlined more plans to alleviate the crunch in maritime human resources in the Lion Republic. These included a SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programme for maritime – a one year course with a certificate and S$5,000 ($3,519) for anyone completing it plus S$15,000 for any employer who then takes on a trainee. The government

Teo warned: “We also face intense global

the amount of money invested in

also has launched Maritime Singapore


developing local talent, remains

Connect, a new portal for maritime jobs and information. “Human capital is the key enabler for

The news comes as human resources remains one of the most pressing issues

concerned however that maritime is still not viewed as an attractive career option.

for maritime firms operating in the Lion

Matt Conway, from recruitment

the future of maritime Singapore,” the

Republic, as evidenced throughout this

firm Faststream, speaks for many of

deputy prime minister said.

magazine and our annual Singapore

the industry, noting: “Singapore is a


talent short market, with a very finite

Teo acknowledged the importance of maritime in Singapore’s economic make

MPA’s chief executive, Andrew Tan, is

talent pool of experienced and qualified

up, saying there were 5,000 companies

adamant that government is handling the

professionals in the maritime industry.”

involved in the sector locally, accounting

issue and has put the correct resources in

for 7% of GDP and 170,000 employees.

place to address the perceived shortage,

groundbreaking survey carried in this

telling Splash: “We are on top of this now.”

magazine will resonate with the powers

Despite the nation’s preeminent status on the global maritime map these days,

The private sector, while applauding

Hopefully, the results from Splash’s

that be.

www.splash247.com 5


Busy agenda Esben Poulsson, the new president of the Singapore Shipping Association, has identified priorities for the Lion Republic to look into as it seeks to bolster its leading maritime hub position amid growing local competition


sben Poulsson has hit the ground running as the latest president of the Singapore Shipping Association,

identifying quickly what the city-state needs to do to bolster its maritime position. Poulsson, who took over from Evergreen’s Patrick Phoon this July, tells Splash he has three immediate priorities. First, he calls for SSA to play an active role and make meaningful contributions to the workings and development of the Tripartite Maritime Manpower Taskforce initiatives for both seafaring and shorebased jobs, spearheaded by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). “We want to create a wow factor for the maritime industry amongst the younger generation,” says Poulsson. Secondly, SSA will support and promote the development of a ‘Singapore Clause’ as an integral part of the Singapore War Risk Mutual. Additionally, SSA will continue to work closely with the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) on promoting the Singapore Sale Form for wider acceptance. A third plank of his tenure will be to

We want to create a wow factor for the maritime industry amongst the younger generation regional and international issues and not

already established a presence here,” he says, “and although I do not have any specifics or figures, I think it is well known in Greece, as it is many other countries, that Singapore is a very attractive country from which to operate a shipping business.” As well as Danish national Poulsson’s

develop the next generation of leaders,

forgetting the educational and networking

commitments to the SSA, the Singapore

something Poulsson says is very much

opportunities that our active calendar of

Maritime Foundation, the International

part of the ongoing efforts of the SSA and

events offers throughout the year,” the

Chamber of Shipping, the Asian

its industry partners in attracting young

SSA president says. The association’s

Shipowners’ Forum and Straits Tankers,

talent to the shipping industry.

networking events are legendary in

the former Torm man is chairman of

shipping circles, often attracting more

Enesel Pte Ltd, a Singapore management

than 2,000 people at a time.

subsidiary of Athens-based boxship

SSA will continue to develop ways to improve Singapore’s ship finance capability across the board, and

SSA now has 477 member companies,

operator Enesel.

promoting Singapore’s capital market

making it one of the larger national

Admitting that times remain tough

“I think shipowners, and indeed all

shipping associations in the world.

for many in the industry, Poulsson has

our members, rightfully expect the SSA

Its membership could swell in the

pushed forward a raft of initiatives to try

to offer value for their membership, by

coming months with many anticipating

and help out. SSA is advising authorities

providing analysis of industry trends,

a big Greek shift to the Lion Republic,

to reduce port dues for offshore vessels,

high quality technical information,

something Poulsson would welcome.

the hardest hit sector in shipping at the

regulatory guidance and updates on

“A number of Greek owners have


www.splash247.com 7

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The value proposition The local shipping community debate whether the city-state is pricing itself out of the market


n compiling this magazine Splash sent

vibrant maritime centre the republic has

out a survey to 250 of the top names

become. However, there were plenty of

places, there are few alternatives that

in Singapore maritime to gauge the

moans about the costs of being based

are as safe and stable as Singapore and


none with the same level of support

community on key local issues. The responses form quite a checklist for the

“Rents and salaries are becoming

While there are more economical

infrastructure, argues Norstar Ship

local government to ponder if it genuinely

prohibitive,” says Pankaj Khanna, the CEO

Management’s managing director Chris

wants to grow as an international

of fast emerging local dry bulk owner

Kirton, a popular refrain that others also

shipping centre.

Pioneer Marine.

mention. “What you get back is worth the

The words in September of Esben

“Other locations in the region are

cost,” is the neat summary from Mary

Poulsson, the new president of the

catching up with better efficiency levels,

Singapore Shipping Association (SSA),

and Singapore would be outplaced if

echo through much of the responses

the costs are not contained,” warns Biju

Goodwood Ship Management, points out

below. It is vital for the city-state not to

Oommen, CEO of feeder line, Orient

currency fluctuations are helping out

rest on its laurels; there’s still much to do,

Express Lines.

somewhat with the strengthening of the

he said. See page seven for more on SSA.

The sky’s the limit as long as it’s not obscured by the haze

US dollar this year and the comparative

In general, respondents said that the republic’s very high prices – whether it is for rent, salaries or more general fare – is just about worth it given the hugely

Baey, CEO of Satcom Global Singapore. Captain Ashok Sabnis, founder of

weakening of the Singapore dollar. “When the rate was $1 to S$1.20 last year it was a strain for everyone, but that situation has eased a little now,” he says.

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Yes it has, agrees Edna Lim from C&C Technologies, but other currencies, notably neighbouring Malaysia, have

of power in Asian shipping circles over

questions on piracy, which we cover

the past decade.

on page 51 as well as how the annual

weakened much more. “Singapore is not

Government checklist

the most cost efficient place to base Asian

In terms of where the government could

operations,” she reckons.

improve Singapore’s maritime set up

haze from fires in Indonesia is affecting business, something analysed in depth on page 50. Our final question asked if Singapore

the majority of respondents focused on

had peaked as a maritime centre. A

top in our poll of where else companies

the human resources crunch and by

majority – 63% – said the city had not, but

would chose to base themselves in Asia if

extension immigration issues which we

many noted the trend to shift backroom

they were to move away from Singapore.

have expanded upon on page 53.

staff to cheaper climes would continue.

Interestingly, Kuala Lumpur came

However, it was a very close race, unlike

Other ideas put forward included the

Growth for Singapore would continue, but

a survey we carried at the same time in

suggestion by Mike Meade, the founder

Hong Kong. Remarkably, 83% of those

of offshore brokerage M3 Marine, of

surveyed in Hong Kong - on choosing

applying similar tax breaks to shipping

business infrastructure, encourages

an alternate Asian location to base their

services that have been applied to

companies to do business, recognises

operations - opted for Singapore, a telling

shipowners and shipmanagers.

and adapts to the changes in the world

statistic on the handing over of the baton

Rents and salaries are becoming prohibitive

Meade also called for a more diverse

at a slower rate. “As long as Singapore provides the

markets, then the sky’s the limit,”

legal framework that would attract the

commented Captain Jonathan Walker from

leading lights away from London.

London Offshore Consultants, adding: “As

Also featuring in the survey were

long as it is not obscured by the haze.”

www.splash247.com 11

Bladerunner vision The new terminal in Tuas will be revolutionary in its use of technology


ifteen years from now Singapore’s

port that could look like a futuristic multi-

port sound like it’ll resemble a Ridley

storey carpark when completed in 2030.

Scott movie, drones flying around

“The aboveground space development over part of the new mega container port

the place, and driverless trucks delivering

because of land constraints in the

could create significant land area for

containers to and fro. Much of the details

republic. As a result Singapore is

the development of a cluster of maritime

of this Bladerunner-esque landscape

considering using a two-tiered container

and port business activities, including

have been revealed in recent months as

terminal in Tuas, Maritime and Port

amenities and possibly commercial-

authorities accelerate plans to shift the

Authority (MPA) of Singapore’s CEO

residential areas for those working in the

port from downtown to Tuas in the west of

Andrew Tan has said.

area to form a component of the future

the republic. The port is still growing however in

Speaking at the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) Forum in October, Tan

its original location – in size, if not in

said that the port is exploring building a

throughput (see box overleaf for the

double-tiered container terminal.

year’s declining container figures). This

Tan said: “We should not restrict

Tuas maritime hub.” There is also the possibility of developing underground storage. Another aspect of the new terminal that will make it a world leader in automation

June the prime minister of Singapore,

ourselves to traditional port layouts.

is the use of driverless automated guided

Lee Hsien Loong, opened phases 3 and

One of these new land-use concepts is

vehicles (AGVs). AGVs are unmanned

4 of development of PSA’s Pasir Panjang

to develop a platform above part of the

transportation platforms used for

container terminal (pictured overleaf with

container port on which port-related

shuttling containers between the quayside

group chairman of PSA International Fock

and industrial developments, such as

and container yard.

Siew Wah).

container freight stations, logistic hubs

Around S$3.5bn ($2.6bn) is to be invested in the next two stages of the terminal’s development, which will enable Singapore to handle 50m teu of containers annually by the end of 2017. While this development is impressive in scale it is nothing as to what is being talked about over in Tuas where dredging is already underway for the new 65m teu


Planners have had to get creative

intensify land use.


Terminal operator PSA currently has

and other facilities, can be developed to

a fleet of eight AGVs undergoing live

Autonomous truck platooning technology can enable us to make a quantum leap in productivity

operational trials at its Pasir Panjang Terminal. PSA has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Transport to develop an autonomous truck platooning system to transport containers between its terminals on public roads, as well as other potential future trucking uses.


We will push the boundaries of what defines a port One or more driverless container trucks will be led by a single manned truck, thereby raising productivity with more cargo transported per driver, and encouraging more trips to be carried out at off-peak hours, which will improve traffic flow during peak periods. Permanent secretary for transport Pang Kin Keong, who is chairman of the committee for autonomous road transport in Singapore, commented in a statement earlier this year: “As Singapore’s maritime sector continues to grow and container volumes increase, the need for efficient inter-terminal and inter-port haulage has never been greater. Autonomous truck

while automated cranes are likely to

annual capacity of 20m teu, should be

platooning technology can enable us

feature in Tuas with the whole port

operational in 2020.

to make a quantum leap in productivity

operation making far greater use of

in the port sector, while addressing

predictive analysis. MPA has this year

Singapore’s future port planning: “By

the shortage of drivers in the trucking

teamed up with IBM to look into how best

harnessing technology, by our willingness

industry and adding value to their jobs.”

to harness Big Data for port operations.

to experiment, and by learning from

Deploying drones to drive productivity is also being researched at the moment

The first phase of the Tuas project, including 20 deepwater berths with a total

As MPA’s Tan said in summing up

others, we will push the boundaries of what defines a port.”

Global slump hits port figures The global slowdown in the

handled 6.5% fewer containers in

container trades this year has been felt

the first nine months of the year. The

in Singapore.

23.5m teu handled in the first three

the year wore on – with figures for

quarters is down on the 25.1m teu

September alone showing a 13.5%

The world’s second busiest boxport

handled in the same period last year. The slump became more heavy as

year-on-year decline. This greater drop is in line with carriers’ take on the markets too, with the number of idled boxships increasing rapidly in the latter part of the year, to around 1m teu in capacity – the highest amount of idled tonnage since the global financial crisis started. With many carriers predicting tough times through to at least end-2017, Singapore might have to get used to annual throughputs of under 30m teu for a while yet.

www.splash247.com 13


Sale of NOL leads the news There’s no doubt which local shipping line hogged the most column inches this year


name – its boss 40 years back was the

wealth fund Temasek, has had enough

island’s second prime minister Goh Chok

and is looking to sell NOL. Two blue liner

Tong. It has bought, developed and sold

giants, Maersk and CMA CGM have been

APL has seen its global capacity share fall to only 2.8% currently, compared to 4.2% in 2010

many brands over the years – American

revealed as interested as we went to press.

newbuild contracts and delayed another

eptune Orient Lines (NOL) is

peers. Steadily losing market share in

synonymous with the growth

recent years, APL has seen its global

of maritime Singapore in its

capacity share fall to only 2.8% currently,

first 50 years. The line has stood out as the nation’s most famous shipping

Eagle Tankers and APL Logistics are two examples. Its acquisition in 1997 of American President Lines, rebranded now

compared to 4.2% in 2010. NOL’s majority shareholder, sovereign

Were it to be sold, Singapore will lose a valuable chunk of its maritime heritage.

five from 2016 to 1017. Pioneer Marine’s CEO, Pankaj Khanna tells Splash that the funds freed up may

as APL, marked the first major cross-

Pioneer Marine

be made available for acquisitions should

border container acquisition – it also

One of Singapore’s fastest growing

the right opportunity be found.

helped reaffirm Singapore’s position on

shipowners, Pioneer Marine, has just

the global liner map.

made big changes to its orderbook to

Marine owns 13 handysize and one

Founded in September 2013, Pioneer

make the most of opportunities presented

handymax dry bulk carriers with an

much of its lustre, struggling to make

by the continued drop in newbuild bulker

additional eight handysize newbuildings

profits and supersize its fleet like its

prices. The company has canned three

on order.

Since then, however, APL has lost

www.splash247.com 15


Bengal Tiger Line

services all along the country’s eastern

Feeder operator Bengal Tiger Line

coast. We handle about 900,000 teu per

a pair of 173,400 cu m LNG carriers

(BTL) defines the very essence of niche

annum, using the hub ports of Singapore,

at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine

marketing. As a common feeder facilitator,

Colombo, Port Klang, Kaohsiung and Jebel

Engineering for close to $400m.

it has managed to remain neutral in the


industry, only carrying boxes belonging

During shipping’s long recession, the

At the end of September BW ordered

Meanwhile, BW Gas clinched a deal to provide Egypt with an FLNG for five years.

to the mainlines and NVOs, and operating

company had its hands full keeping its

The contract, which started in October, is

only on feeder sectors.

nose above water.

worth $60m a year.

In addition, the company refrains from

“We looked at all the services we had,

Earlier in the year, BW Group, via

direct ownership of vessels, preferring

and rationalised where possible, to ensure

subsidiary BW Euroholdings, bought 6m

to go the charter route to avoid any

that we were not overdeploying capacity,”

shares in New York-listed Dorian LPG

conflict of interest with its part-owner,

says Smart. “That is the biggest problem

giving it a 10.2% stake in the company.

the Schoeller Group, which owns and

in the industry – ensuring correct

BW purchased the shares from Scorpio

operates more than 70 ships.

deployment so that the right balance is

Tankers at $15.34 each, making the deal

maintained between supply and demand.”

worth $92m in total.

Nor is there any conflict with Hamburgheadquartered Passat Shipping, which

At BW LPG Martin Ackermann took over

operates three 2,700 teu feeder vessels


as CEO this August. Previously he was

owned by BTL’s founding partner,

It has been another remarkably busy

with Evergas.

Joachim Von Der Heydt, who has since

year for BW, arguably Singapore’s largest

moved to Singapore as executive

shipowner by revenue. Its product tanker

Epic Gas


arm, BW Pacific, went for an IPO in Oslo

Charles Maltby stepped into to replace

this November, but at the last moment

Lars Vang Christensen at Epic Gas this

of which just 15 are directly chartered

pulled it on deteriorating conditions

January when Christensen announced

in,” says BTL’s managing director Bill

for shipping investments. BW Pacific

he was stepping down. Maltby had been

Smart, who joined the company as owner’s

currently owns an existing fleet of 33

serving as executive chairman prior to

representative in Singapore in 1990.

vessels, comprising 17 owned LR1s and

taking on the CEO role. Like Epic Gas’s

“We have some 35 scheduled vessels,

16 owned MRs, and a newbuilding fleet of

founders Chris Buttery and Paul Over,

teu carriers to 2,700 teu vessels. India

12 vessels of which six are LR1s and six

Maltby’s background includes time at

forms our core business, and we run

are MRs.

Pacific Basin.

“We have a range of feeders, from 600

www.splash247.com 17

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This October Epic Gas sealed a $120m senior secured credit facility to help finance roughly two thirds of its remaining seven newbuildings. The Singapore-based firm said in a release: “The company remains committed to the delivery of a high quality fleet with an outstanding newbuilding program of three 7,500 cu m vessels and four 11,000 cu m vessels, plus an additional 11,000 cu m newbuilding to be delivered under a bareboat charter to Epic Gas.” Epic Gas, founded three years ago, has been one of the fastest growing players

attract shipping investment to the island

business are clearly propping the

in the gas carrier markets, now boasting a

state. This February Masterbulk turned 20.

maritime division, but also allowing Uni-

fleet of 45 vessels.

China Navigation

Nick Fisher, the CEO of Masterbulk, tells Splash: “It’s been a rollercoaster ride all the way. We’ve expanded, contracted,

Asia to position itself for any uptick in its chosen sector, handysize bulkers. Michio Tanamoto, chairman and CEO

This February China Navigation Company

outsourced, insourced, and expanded

of the company, reckons handies could

(CNCo) ordered its first self-discharging

again. Still, we are proud to have been

make a comeback in 2017, hence why

cement carrier on the back of a

here so long.”

he’s keen to pen a series of contracts for

partnership deal with Golden Bay Cement.

This year the Singapore offshoot

a few Japanese newbuilds soon.

The vessel will be built at China’s Jinling

of Westfal-Larsen Shipping saw it axe

shipyard and will be specially designed to

early plans to get into shipmanagement.

due to coal trade volumes in China, new

operate on the New Zealand coast.

Masterbulk, which owns 20 open hatch

tonnage and the supply/demand gap,”

CNCo’s industrial shipping division,

“The handysize market has been slow

supramaxes, had made plans to diversify

Tanamoto concedes. However of the

Swire Bulk Logistics, is partnering with

revenues by getting into third party

roughly 3,200 handies in the market, he

Golden Bay Cement to build, own and

management. Not only has it now canned

points out 16% are over 20 years old and

operate the 9,000 dwt cement carrier.

this venture, it has also switched its own

30% over 15 years old.

The vessel is scheduled to commence

ships to another third party manager,

operations in late 2016.

Rickmers Shipmanagement.

In June, another CNCo division, Swire

“This wasn’t an easy decision,”

“I don’t expect volumes to pick up the market but scrapping of these older vessels should provide a recovery

Shipping teamed up with Rickmers-Linie, the

Fisher tells Splash, “but the economics

breakbulk and heavylift carrier, to enhance

of running this as a standalone

services in India and the Middle East.

shipmanagement business for the number

Japanese bankers, two in Hong Kong

sometime in 2017,” he tells Splash. Uni-Asia was founded in 1997 by three

A connecting carrier partnership will

of vessels involved could no longer

and Tanamoto in Singapore. Initially the

allow Swire to link breakbulk and project

be justified in the current depressed

company started out providing finance to

cargoes in India and the Middle East,

market. Shipping companies of all sizes

shipping as well as building up a property

through Rickmers-Linie operations, to its

are having to look at where they can

and hotels empire. In 2003 it made its

Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific

reduce costs and maximize efficiencies.

first foray into shipping investment.

network via Singapore.

Shipmanagement is an economies scale

Nowadays the fleet is made up of 15

game with increasingly small margins

bulkers, five containerships and two

involved, and I believe we will see further

product tankers. Of this total 13 are in

consolidation in the market.”

joint ventures and the rest 100% owned.

Masterbulk Founded in Singapore as the shipowning entity for the dry bulk fleet of Westfal-

It also owns a shipmanagement

Larsen, Masterbulk was one of the first


company in China, Wealth Ocean Ship

Norwegian-owned shipping companies to

These are interesting times for Uni-Asia,

Management, and manages seven vessels

establish themselves in Singapore under

the Singapore-listed diverse conglomerate

with Tanamoto revealing the company

initiatives created by the Maritime and

with interests in hotels, property and

would like to expand more into third party

Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to

shipping. The first two strands of the


www.splash247.com 19


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Doom and gloom Singapore’s OSV community is facing dire financial straits. Consolidation could be on the cards for some, oblivion for others


or much of this decade the Singapore

where even in the unlikely event of the

are negotiating with the banks to allow

Exchange was rammed full of

entire rig fleet working, there would be

them to service only the interest portion

releases from exuberant offshore

still be a surplus of offshore support

of their amortising loans in the interim.


Some are seeking refinancing via loan

support vessel operators announcing all manner of dramatic expansion plans

With banks now reluctant to lend cash

top-ups, as they had paid off a portion of

on the back of oil prices being in $100+

to this toxic sector OSV operators in

territory. The past 12 months, however,

Singapore are having to look at higher-

announcements have been limited to

cost alternative funding avenues such

for an amendment of financial covenants.

dire quarterly results, revenues plunging,

as sale and leaseback of assets as well as

In addition, most Singapore OSV players

losses growing and contracts being

tapping up equity partners.

are laying up their fleets and laying off

torched. The hatches have been well and

Leverage at local OSV companies has

the principal over the past years. Meanwhile, some are also negotiating

staff. More desperate measures include

truly battened down among Singapore’s

risen. The median debt to equity ratio

hiring freezes, not replacing employee

large OSV community, but with most

of 18 Singapore-listed OSV owners was

attrition, cutting salaries, reducing

analysts predicting oil prices to remain

up by about a third from a year earlier

onshore and offshore crew as well as

low for at least the coming 18 months

at 1.08 at the end of the second quarter,

consolidating functional teams.

there could be some very high profile

Thomson Reuters data showed.

bankruptcies coming. With utilisation and charter rates

Deutsche Bank, in a recent report,

CIMB does not expect a strong rebound for the sector in 2016, and advised

does not expect the OSV sector to pick

investors to focus on tendering activities

down by more than 40% this year the vast

up anytime soon. Any offshore contracts

to discern the sector’s shifts. More tenders

majority of the industry are struggling,

which are up for grabs are likely to attract

and enquiries mean the prospect for more

hit hard by overcapacity. Comments Mike

aggressive bidders, and hence drive down

work which, in turn, means a positive

Meade from local offshore brokers M3

prices and margins, Deutsche Bank said.

revision in offshore fleets’ utilisation and

Marine, “The market is out of balance

CIMB Research, in another recent

when it comes to supply and demand;

report, notes how some OSV companies

OSV operators in Singapore are having to look at higher-cost alternative funding avenues

day rates expectations. In a legal update from earlier this year Oon & Bazul partner Kohe Hasan suggested low oil prices could lead to greater consolidation within the OSV sector.

www.splash247.com 21

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“Smaller and newer OSV operators may not survive in this harsher economic climate and are likely to become targets of larger OSV operators with a healthy cash flow,” Hasan said. “The impact of $50 oil has absolutely decimated the offshore industry,” Fazel Fazelbhoy, the former head of the UAE’s OSV major Topaz Energy and Marine, told the Marine Money conference in Singapore this September. Fazelbhoy, who now runs an offshore consultancy, warned there were another 400 OSVs still to be delivered. A bloodbath seems unavoidable to many in the coming 12 months.

The impact of $50 oil has absolutely decimated the offshore industry

MPA helps out

days to 180 days, with effect from 1

of S$4 for the first five days, six to 90

November 2015 to 31 October 2016.

days will be S$4 plus S$0.50 per day

“The rates will be applicable to

after the first five days, 90-180 days

The Maritime and Port Authority

OSVs approved by MPA that do not

will be S$46.50 plus S$0.50 per day

of Singapore (MPA) has extended its

carry out cargo operations, calling

after the first 90 days, and 180 days

port dues concession for OSVs as the

at MPA designated offshore marine

onwards will be S$91.50 plus S$1 per

waters off the Lion Republic become

locations and/or specific anchorages

day after the first 180 days.

a parking lot for out of work offshore

in port,” MPA said in a port marine



Incremental concessionary rates of

The revised port dues applicable

The MPA’s conciliatory stance to the hard pressed OSV sector follows an appeal from the Singapore

S$0.50 ($0.35) per day for OSVs have

for OSVs where period of stay is one

Shipping Association to ease up on

been extended from the current 90

to five days will see rates per 100 gt

charges for idled OSVs.

www.splash247.com 23


LNG moves closer to reality The port is leading the world in encouraging gas as the next ship fuel


hile volumes at the container

the SS 524:2014 Quality Management

from Veritas Petroleum Services calls

port might have slumped this

for Bunker Supply Chain, will “further

for support and clarity from the local

year – and shipping remains

enhance consistency in practices in the

authorities to ensure bunker surveyor

largely in the doldrums – there is no

delivery of bunkers for vessels calling at

jobs are not eliminated. “The situation is

letting up in bunker sales in Singapore.

the Port of Singapore” according to a note

still very grey,” he warns.

Bunker sales grew 5% year-on-year in the

from the MPA.

first three quarters of the year to 33.5m

SS 600:2014 sets out guidelines and

LNG developments

tonnes, cementing the republic’s position

procedures to ensure that the correct

In July the MPA began the tender process

as the world’s number one place to fill a

quality and quantity of bunkers are being

through which prospective companies will

ship with fuel.

delivered safely and efficiently, and

apply for a licence to supply LNG bunkers

includes better controls and safeguards.

to vessels in the port.

As befits such a dominant position, Singapore often leads the bunkering

SS 524:2014 puts in place a

Applicants had to propose an ‘end-

industry on making changes, improving

comprehensive quality management

to-end’ LNG bunkering system, showing

delivery and eyeing new technology.

system for the bunker supply chain, which

their LNG sourcing, supply, marketing

the MPA said, “is necessary for bunker

and delivery process. The shortlisted

Singapore’s (MPA) revised bunkering rules

operations in Singapore to continue to be

proposals will be announced by the end of

came into effect on September 1 this year.

on par with international benchmarks”.

the year.

The Maritime and Port Authority of

The two sets of guidelines, namely

Another impending change is to

The successful applicants will supply

the Singapore Standard SS 600:2014

do with mass flow meters. With their

LNG marine fuel as part of Singapore’s

Code of Practice for Bunkering, and

mandatory introduction, Rahul Choudhuri

LNG bunkering pilot programme,

By having full-scale LNG bunkering services, Singapore will be able to serve as a key refuelling station for Southeast Asia

scheduled to commence in early 2017. The MPA plans to provide funding of up to S$2m ($1.47m) per vessel for up to six LNG-fuelled vessels that participate in the pilot programme.

www.splash247.com 25

Singapore A Major Bunkering Hub

Searights Maritime Services Pte Ltd Certificate of Accreditation: MPA/AS 04 001 80 Marine Parade Road #16-05/06/07/08 Parkway Parade Singapore 449269

Tel: +65 6344 1108 Fax: +65 6344 1128 email: bunkers@searights.com.sg www.searights.com.sg


for activity in Port of Singapore for a period of at least five years, the MPA said. Pavilion Energy, the state-funded LNG vehicle, is also working with the MPA to develop LNG bunkering on the lines of LNG bunkering terminals in Europe, and has commenced talks with the Singapore LNG terminal to build jetties for loading ships with LNG fuel. “By having full-scale LNG bunkering services, Singapore will be able to serve as a key refuelling station for Southeast Asia, and can welcome more international and regional LNG ships through Asia,” Seah Moon, Pavilion’s CEO said. LNG as a ship’s fuel was under the spotlight at Gastech, the big annual LNG event, which this year took place in Singapore. The move to LNG as a fuel is a game

Wind gave way to coal and coal in its turn gave way to oil. The move from oil to natural gas is simply the next progression Singapore has been working on developing practical operational

LNG-fuelled vessels. Interested companies can apply for

changer which cannot be ignored, said Angus Campbell, managing director of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement UK, (BSM), speaking at Gastech. “Independent industry predictions indicate that the use of LNG as a bunker fuel offers opportunities for early movers to secure a market leading position ashore and afloat,

procedures and standards for LNG

a co-funding grant of up to S$2m per

and global LNG fuelling will become a

bunkering operations at the port since

vessel for a maximum of two successful

mainstream option.


applications per company.

The MPA has also set aside S$12m

The scheme is only open to companies

“It has happened before,” he said. “Wind gave way to coal and coal in its turn gave

($8.4m) from its Maritime Innovation &

incorporated in Singapore, and the

way to oil. The move from oil to natural

Technology Fund with which it plans to

vessels to be funded must be flagged

gas is simply the next progression in the

contribute to the cost of building new

under the Singapore Registry or licensed

evolution of maritime transportation.”

New giant formed

locations and activities in the city

for BP to gain access to the tightly

world. Both companies already have

restricted Chinese markets.

While the Maritime and Port

significant bunkering presences in

Authority (MPA) continues to cut


back the number of licenced bunker

“The ports served by BP

providers, Singapore welcomed a new

Sinopec Marine Fuels Pte Ltd will

powerhouse bunker supplier this May

be: Singapore; Fujairah, United

with Britain’s BP and China’s Sinopec

Arab Emirates; Antwerp, Belgium;

forming a bunker storage and sales

Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the

joint venture in the Lion Republic.

Netherlands; Tianjin, Qingdao,

The 50/50 joint venture will use both companies’ existing bunkering

The joint venture is seen as a way

and will provide bunkers around the

For the last 11 consecutive years BP Singapore has been the biggest bunker supplier by volume in Singapore.

Shanghai, Ningbo and Shenzhen, China,” a statement said.

www.splash247.com 27


Contact Grant Rowles on grant@asiashippingmedia.com for details


From pirate nest to free port Celebrating 50 years of the republic, award-winning author Paul French writes exclusively for Splash on the history of maritime Singapore


s with so many things in Singapore it begins with Sir Stamford Raffles. Raffles was a

visionary and in 1819 he gazed across the naturally deep and sheltered waters stretching between the peninsula that is now Singapore and the small islands of Pulau Brani and Pulau Blakang Mati (better known these days to everyone as Sentosa) and realised he was on the shores of what could be a great port. A captain in the East India Company, William Farquhar, had originally told Raffles of the harbour – inhabited only by orang laut sea gypsies and cutthroat pirates. But it suited the

post. From that moment Singapore was

to be shipped out to the wider world

needs of the East India Company and

to be both a free port and a key naval

like a Shanghai or a Bombay; nor was

the British Empire perfectly. Raffles

garrison. The combination of these two

it the gateway to a potentially giant

claimed Singapore for the East India

roles was to be decisive in the history of

market for western goods, such as

Company (and by extension the British

the port of Singapore.

Canton (Guangzhou) or Yokohama.

Empire), made Farquhar the Permanent

Being a free port meant relaxed

Rather Singapore’s existence hinged on

Resident and ordered Captain Henry

customs and excise conditions to attract

becoming the most important calling

Keppel of the Royal Navy to clear out

trade; it meant a port not exclusively for

station between India and on to the

the infestation of pirates. The Port of

the use of the East India Company and

Far East. For once the much overused

Singapore was open for business.

the British. Being a free port also meant,

saying, ‘geography is destiny’, was true.

However, from the start, the Port of

crucially, relatively few controls on

Singapore’s geographical location at

Singapore was not to be just another

transhipment. This was at the very heart

a crossroads of the East and West was

weigh station on the trading routes of

of Raffles’ dream for the port, according

to be, from its very origin, fundamental

the British Empire, but rather something

to Professor Peter Borschberg, of the

to its success as a trading port. As Peter

distinctly more – a free port protected

Department of History at the National

Borschberg adds, “If you come from

by naval warships. Raffles himself

University of Singapore. “Singapore

West Asia or the Bay of Bengal and you

fell to ill health and returned home to

was always conceived and designed

wanted to go to the Far East, and you’re

England to die in 1826. However, before

as a free port, and it remained so

doing this either in the age of sail or in

leaving, never to return, he gave William

through the nineteenth and much of

the age of steam, there are really just

Farquhar explicit instructions regarding

the twentieth centuries as well.” This

two entry points - the Straits of Malacca

the future of the port - that Farquhar

was a masterstroke in the development

or the Sunda Strait.” Today the Port of

should maintain free passage of all

of the port. Unlike the ports in British-

Singapore remains the world’s most

ships through the Strait of Singapore.

controlled India or the newly created

crucial transhipment point – Raffles’

Further, to support and enforce this

foreign-controlled Treaty Ports of China,

initial dream has long been realised.

order, a military and naval presence was

Singapore was not a major source of

Georgraphy has been Singapore’s

to be established alongside the trading

commodities or manufactured goods


www.splash247.com 29

The Port of Singapore’s early

on to tongkangs – light wooden cargo

remote Indonesian islands for

development occurred in tandem with

boats – which took the precious cargoes

transhipment on to markets as far away

other major revolutionary changes to

down the Singapore River to be stored

as London and Amsterdam where they

global trade. The new harbour rapidly

in warehouses and go-downs. The city

fetched extraordinarily high prices;

grew - the first drydock known as

grew up around the port, thriving from it,

Chinese manufactured goods (in those

Number 1 Dock was completed in 1859;

profiting from it.

days including pig bristle toothbrushes,

the second, Victoria Dock, in 1868 to be followed by the Albert Dock in 1879. In 1900 what had been known as the New

Singapore’s rapid growth was based

India tea clippers moored alongside

Harbour was officially renamed Keppel

on the three main networks of trade

Chinese junks. As steam superseded

Harbour – the man who had chased the

that flowed through the waters just

sail so the Port of Singapore became a

pirates away over 50 years before visited

offshore of the settlement. The Chinese

major coaling station. Pirates remained

to witness the renaming ceremony.

Network connected all of Southeast

a problem – in the Malacca Straits and

Captain, now raised to Admiral, Henry

Asia to the teeming southern Chinese

elsewhere – and so British warships on

Keppel was 92 years of age. At the same

ports stretching from Hong Kong and

patrol were also a regular sight.

time as the facilities were constructed so

Canton up through Fujian to Amoy

other changes occurred – in the 1850s

(Xiamen), Ningpo (Ningbo) and Shanghai

the Port of Singapore had become

trade opened with the Kingdom of Siam;

– everything from lacquer ware and

the dominant port of Southeast Asia.

the Straits Settlements were formed in

opium; pig bristles and eggs flowed

It’s success at the heart of the three

1867 giving Singapore greater access

through this network. The Southeast

networks crucial, but its historic

to the hinterlands of Southeast Asia

Asian Network linked the myriad islands

creation as a free port essential, to

and, crucially greatly increasing the

of the Indonesian archipelago with

its success. Its largest regional rival,

volume and speed of West-East trade via

highly valuable spices at its heart. Lastly

Batavia (now Jakarta), under Dutch

Singapore, the Suez Canal was opened

the Indo-European Network connected

control, retained cumbersome and often

in 1869.

the Far East to the ports of the Indian

expensive restrictions. Both the English

out to the world and vice versa. East

Within a decade of its formation

Ocean littoral and on to Europe. These

country traders and the Chinese junk

one of the world’s busiest. Ships crowded

networks were of course complimentary.

traders deserted Batavia for Singapore.

the harbour, labourers unloaded cargoes

Spices flowed into Singapore from

Tanjung Pinang in the Riau Islands,

The Port of Singapore was already


fine porcelain, ornate furniture) went

The Three Networks



previously the main port for the spice

Keppel Road and, after 1932, the Tajong-

pass unnoticed in London. Nor did the

trade, lost its position to Singapore too.

Pagar Railway Station – in sight of the

growing power of the Japanese Imperial

By the turn of the century Singapore

port – a wonderful art-deco station of

Navy in the Pacific and China Seas.

was clearly the dominant regional port

white marble with statues representing

Cash-strapped as the British Empire was

rivalled only by Bombay to the west and

agriculture, industry, commerce and

after the devastation of the war money

Shanghai to the east.

transport. A few changes of train might

was found to build a massive naval

be required, but steam trains now

base in Singapore. Construction began

King Rubber and Lord Tin

connected the Port of Singapore to as

in 1923 and was eventually completed

Singapore had once been the sleepy tip

far away as Kunming and Chongqing

in 1939 at the then phenomenal cost

of an often somnambulant peninsula.

in China; across the vast expanses of

of $500m. Adjacent to the commercial

But in the 19th and early 20th centuries

French-controlled Indo-China and even

port the naval base featured the world’s

that changed and brought another bonus

into the heart of Burma.

largest drydock, the third largest floating

to the Port of Singapore. As the British

dock, enough fuel storage tanks to

developed Malaya so Singapore became

War and More War

the Straits Settlements’ primary port of

The First World War was to have

months and all protected by heavy

export. Across the world the demand for

a profound affect on the Port of

15-inch guns positioned in Fort Siloso,

manufactured goods drove demand for

Singapore despite the conflict never

Fort Canning and at the new Royal Air

tin; the development of the bicycle, the

directly reaching the country. The port’s

Force base at Tengah. Upon completion

automobile, modern shipping, all drove

economy boomed as Britain sourced

Winston Churchill, then First Lord of

demand for rubber and Malaya was the

unprecedented levels of crude rubber,

the Admiralty, declared Singapore the

major producer of King Rubber and Lord

oil and tin from the country to fuel the

“Gibraltar of the East.”

Tin. Fortunes were created and invested

nation’s war machine. A new flag was

But it was not to be. Singapore was

in developing an infrastructure of road

also seen fluttering from ship’s masts

to be a naval base without a fleet. As the

and rail that ran the length of the Malay

in the port too – the Stars and Stripes.

Second World War spread from Europe

Peninsula. Their final stopping point?

Between 1912 and 1914 only one major

to Asia in 1942 after the Japanese attack

The Port of Singapore.

cargoship flying an American flag called

on Pearl Harbour, the European empires

at Singapore. In 1915 over seventeen

in Asia crumbled. The Japanese occupied

Singapore Causeway began in 1919.

large American-flagged cargo ships

French Indo-China, took the strategic

It opened to cargo trains in September

called at Singapore. In 1917 (when the

port of Shanghai and then Hong Kong

1923 and to passenger trains a

United States entered the war in Europe)

on Christmas Day 1941. Singapore

month later. Steam trains brought tin,

over twenty US-flagged ships called

was next in their sights. The Battle of

petroleum and rubber to the port as well

at the port and three companies – the

Singapore raged from February 8 to 15,

as passengers for the liners that docked

newly formed Singapore-Pacific line, the

1942 and ended in a British surrender.

on both the coastal ferry services and

Waterhouse Steamship Line of Seattle

The Japanese Imperial Army occupied

the routes west to Europe via Suez

and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company

both the naval base and the commercial

and to all points East – Hong Kong,

of San Francisco - had commenced

Port of Singapore. Now prime minister,

Shanghai, Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu,

regular services between Singapore and

Churchill called the fall of Singapore to

Los Angeles, San Francisco and

the Pacific coast of the US. Even after

the Japanese the “worst disaster” and the

Vancouver. If you wanted to get to New

the armistice, when the war ended in

“largest capitulation” in British military

York then take your pick – west via Suez

Europe, demand for oil, rubber, tin and

history. The next three and a half years

to Marseilles or Southampton and then

a host of other commodities boosted

were to be dark ones across a Singapore

across the Atlantic, or east to California

the port’s revenues. As it celebrated the

under Japanese occupation. But in

and then either the long route by sea

centenary of its founding by Raffles,

August 1945 Tokyo surrendered and

via the Panama Canal or cross country

back in 1819, Singapore’s port was at

Singapore, and its port, were liberated.

on the new transcontinental railroads.

its zenith in terms of shipping tonnage,

The next phase of the port’s history was

The Port of Singapore really did connect

profits and cargo volumes. It seemed

to be as part of a newly independent

the world. But take a train south from

that both war and peace had been good

Singapore and to take place in a world

as far away as Bangkok, Butterworth

for the Port of Singapore.

which was to see, in technological terms,

The construction of the Johor-

(change for Penang) or Kuala Lumpur and the southern terminus was the

And the port’s strategic importance as a lifeline during the Great War did not

support the entire Royal Navy for six

arguably even more change than the previous 100 years.

www.splash247.com 31

RIQ Pte Ltd

27, MSL BUILDING . UBI ROAD 4 . #03-02 . SINGAPORE 408618

Email email@riq.com.sg

Tel +65 6741 3723

Fax +65 6741 3746


NIGHT VISION CAMERA HSC code compliance (for ND1200 Predator model)

ENGINE CONTROL SYSTEM Mechanical / Electronic Engine Mechanical / Electrical Activated Gear Box Marine Class Type Approval

STEERING GEAR CONTROL SYSTEM Major Marine Classification Interface to JS/DP Customized Control System

FIFI SYSTEM External Fire Fighting System

THRUSTER Tunnel Azimuth Deck Mounted


hard to envision that in 1966 not one containership plied the trade routes via Singapore. All the more amazing then that that year PSA announced, to a frankly startled global shipping community, that it was going to build a container terminal at the East Lagoon. Singapore was not a rich nation but did manage to secure

Independence and self-reliance

a S$45m loan from the World Bank to fund the construction of the terminal. Six years later, in 1972, the MV Nihon, sailing from Rotterdam with a cargo of 300 containers berthed and was unloaded with the terminal’s new Hitachi cranes. East Lagoon Container Terminal was

The 1960s saw dramatic local maritime developments

to be renamed Tanjong Pagar Terminal;

ndependence came to Singapore

stream of containerships, growing each


in August 1965. The early 1960s had seen a tough time for the Port

entrepreneurship, innovation and trade. In 1964 the Port of Singapore

the lone MV Nihon was to become a year; by 1985 Singapore was the busiest

Authority (PSA) was formed as a

container port in the world. At the

of Singapore. Disagreements with

statutory body, effectively making the

inauguration ceremony for the terminal

the newly independent Malaysia saw

port a development agency to ensure

Lee Kuan Yew told the press: “Singapore’s

Singapore eventually break away as

its continued crucial role to the rapid

raison d’ être is its port; Singapore must

a separate nation and this meant that

development of the country in these

strive to remain a major hub port.”

much of the port’s traditional business

early days. Being small means being

The second visionary decision

from the Malay heartlands moved to

nimble, being able to move quickly

Singapore took was to vertically

other ports. Additionally, much of the

to gain advantage. Singapore was to

integrate their new economy. It was

former tonnage that had flowed through

embrace this advantage and make two

not enough to create a value-added,

Singapore from Indonesia was now

key decisions in the 1960s that, at the

export-oriented manufacturing base

diverted to other regional ports. As a

time, appeared to be massive gambles,

on the island; nor to equip PSA with a

new, small island nation Singapore was

but ones that ultimately ensured the

container terminal ahead of its time.

forced to embrace a greater sense of

long-term growth and continued success

Singapore also decided to create its own

self-reliance and this, in part, meant

of the Port of Singapore. Looking back,

shipping line in 1968 at a time when its

that the Port of Singapore reverted to

with the benefit of hindsight, these

population was barely 2m people and its

what it had been in its earliest days – a

decisions appear obvious. But they

GDP was but a fraction of what it would

transhipment centre. Geography was

were far from that in the mid- to late-

become. Wholly-owned by the Singapore

still integral to Singapore’s destiny.

1960s and deserve to be explained and

government, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL)


was to be Singapore’s national line, its

However, Singapore began to emerge as something new; something

Riding the Singapore Cable Car

creation designed to bolster and support

it had never been before really – an

from Mount Fabre out across Keppel

the island’s economic development

export-oriented economy that aimed

Harbour towards Sentosa it’s hard to

through offering local manufacturers

to be a vibrant and value-added

imagine Stamford Raffles standing on

low freight rates to boost exports.

manufacturing economy in its own

the banks, surveying the harbour and

As the 1970s rolled around the

right. Singapore, essentially for the

deciding to create his legacy of the free

question for Singapore, its government

first time, began exporting itself, and

port of Singapore in 1819. Down below

and port authority was whether or not

its locally produced goods, out to the

dozens of ships are moored; hundreds

the initial foundations – the creation of

world. The role of the port was essential

more out to the horizon waiting to enter

PSA, the building of a container terminal

to realising the nation’s inaugural

the port and, aboard them, thousands of

and the founding of NOL – would be

prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s goal of

metal containers. The pirates and the sea

enough to weather the very stormy

rapid economic development driven by

gypsies are long gone, but it’s equally

weather approaching.

www.splash247.com 33

Competition and crises Oil shocks and nearby infrastructure growth proved challenging in the 1970s southern Chinese port locations as sites of possible future development. Perhaps the major challenge to both Singapore as a nation and PSA in the 1970s was the 1973 oil crisis, which by its end in 1974 had seen the price of a barrel of oil rise from $3 to $12. Between 1965 and 1973 Singapore’s annual average real GDP growth was 12.7%; inflation was generally low and prices stable. However, the high


degree of Singapore’s manufacturing he 1970s were to see some of the

Pagar Container Terminal was paying

industry that was foreign owned and/

worst crises to face global trade

off for PSA – those Hitachi cranes were

or invested and the policy of boosting

and the global shipping industry

working day and night.

exports at all costs had the effect of

in the second half of the 20th century.

Goh Chok Tong, who was to go on

exposing Singapore to the oil price

Yet, Singapore initially powered on. By

to become Singapore’s second prime

shocks of the decade. The 1973 oil

the mid-1970s the length of highways,

minister, was managing director of NOL

crisis did put a dent in trade and GDP

streets and rural roads illuminated with

and expanding the line precipitously

growth, down to an average of 8.7%

streetlights had almost tripled from

– embracing the coming wave of

between 1973 and 1979. However,

892 km at independence to 2,281 km;

containerisation as well as cementing

what made the global recession more

planning had begun for Singapore’s

NOL’s (and by extension Singapore’s)

manageable for Singapore than for most

second power station at Senoko even as

position in the Europe-Asia trade

regional economies in the 1970s was its

the new Jurong Power Station was still

through joining the ACE Consortium

traditional position as a transhipment

under construction; work began on an

with partners OOCL, K Line, Cosco and

centre and as an entrepôt economy. Oil

entirely new passenger airport at Changi

Franco-Belgian Services. ACE quickly

may have quadrupled in price but it

while also expanding the old airport

became known as the ‘third force’ in the

was still in demand and still needed to

at Paya Lebar as a dedicated air cargo

global container shipping business.

be shipped and that invariably meant

hub. New manufacturing centres were

via Singapore from the Middle East to

being established in Jurong, Redhill and

country to attempt to revive its economy

oil hungry nations with no domestic


through expanding low cost production.

reserves such as Japan.

PSA was still expanding Singapore’s


But Singapore was not the only Asian

The 1970s was the start of the same

The combination of the global shock

port infrastructure too. It took over the

process for many regional nations

to the system of the oil crises of 1973,

former British naval base at Sembawang

that would, with Singapore, emerge as

and then again in 1979 following the

and established the Sembawang Wharves

the Asian Tigers of the 1980s. Taiwan,

outbreak of the Iranian revolution, and

handling breakbulk and specialised

South Korea and Hong Kong were all

the rise of regional competitors, both as

cargoes including heavy equipment,

attempting similar strategies. Malaysia

export-oriented economies and potential

steelworks, and cables. In part this

was attempting to reduce its reliance

transhipment hubs, meant Singapore

equipment was needed to support

on Singapore’s terminals by developing

had to be radical in its thinking once

Singapore’s massive construction boom

Port Klang as the country’s national

again. And it was. Singapore looked at

that saw the city transform from low-

load centre, and Tanjung Pelepas

where the world was shifting after a

rise to high-rise by the mid-1980s. A

as a regional transhipment centre;

tumultuous decade and decided, against

new terminal was also built at Jurong

Hong Kong was ramping up its port

the popular consensus, that perhaps it

to support the development of the new

infrastructure and Hong Kong-based

was just possible that the long dormant

Jurong Industrial Estate (JIE). The far-

port operators were already, by the

Chinese dragon was about to awaken

sighted decision to build the Tanjong

end of the 1970s, starting warily to eye

from three decades of Maoist slumber.



Look East

well. However, it had learnt the lesson

In the 1980s Singapore moved to get closer to China

to look beyond its traditional trading


of exposure and realised that it needed partners of Europe, Japan and North

ingapore weathered the 1979

America to new markets. Today, China

oil crisis and the turbulent

seems an obvious choice, but it was far

economic start to the 1980s

from obvious in the 1980s. The country

surprisingly well. To counter over-

was only a couple of years past the

dependence on exports and foreign

upheaval and turmoil of the Cultural

investment the government spent on

Revolution; it was an overwhelmingly

domestic consumption. This meant

poor, largely agrarian nation with

cash to continue the construction

outmoded industry, dilapidated ports,

boom as well as large public works

a creaking infrastructure where it even

programmes – following technical

existed, and little to no contact with the

surveys in the 1970s, the first trains

world’s major shipping lines to continue

outside world for three decades. But

ran on the island’s MRT system in 1987.

transhipping through Singapore.

where most of the world saw potential

However, by the mid-1980s Singapore

It was also the case that PSA had

chaos and an economic basket case,

faced the double-whammy of a saturated

continued investing – not just in

Singapore’s prime minister Lee Kuan

construction industry seeing fewer

more port infrastructure, but rather

Yew, it seems, saw opportunity.

large-scale projects in the pipeline

in the coming wave of technological

and the slowdown in many key trading

advancement that reduced bureaucracy

Australia’s Flinders University, says:

partners and the markets of Europe and

and made hub ports attractive to

“Lee spotted the rise of China before

North America. Meanwhile, much of the

shippers. In 1984 PSA introduced

anyone else.” Deng Xiaoping, whom

economic stimulus (certainly in terms of

PORTNET - a one-stop 24-hour paperless

Lee described as, “a great leader who

jobs) from oil refining and shipbuilding

electronic system, linking PSA ports

changed the destiny of China and of the

were being ameliorated by new and

with the global shipping community.

world” made a state visit to Singapore in

lower cost competitors in the region.

In 1988 CITOS followed, an enterprise

1978 (pictured) and was impressed with

Singapore moved into recessionary

resource planning (ERP) system that

what he saw. Building on the success

territory economically in late 1984. In

coordinated and integrated PSA’s entire

of the 1978 visit Singapore-Beijing

1985 GDP growth was -1.4%. However,

port operations. The berths, cranes and

bilateral relations slowly emerged

the country managed to make a quick

yards were in place – innovations such

throughout the 1980s. In 1985 Dr

recovery by 1986.

Michael Barr, a professor at

as PORTNET and CITOS made them

Goh Keng Swee had become a special

There were a number of factors

more efficient, easier for shipowners to

economic adviser to China’s nascent

that helped Singapore recover so fast.

use and streamlined the whole business

coastal Special Economic Zones; the two

One was the generally continuing good

saving both PSA and its customers time

countries bilateral trade was growing

conditions at PSA’s terminals. Singapore

and money. This concentration on the

slowly. Singapore was engaging with

had become the world’s busiest

back office processes of the shipping

Beijing before it had actually officially

container port by 1982, achieving

trade by PSA echoed the wider strategy

established diplomatic relations with the

1m teu in a year for the first time.

of Singapore to create jobs and business

country (which happened in 1990).

Buoyed by this growth PSA invested in

through embracing finance and the

construction of the Keppel Container

new knowledge economy. Throughout

phrase for Singapore in the 1990s and

Terminal adjacent to the Keppel Harbour

the 1980s Singapore morphed into

the small island state was to find itself

facilities – it eventually opened for

one of Asia’s foremost banking centres

well positioned to take advantage of

business in 1991 with 14 berths and

attracting multinational regional HQs,

the waking dragon. However, what was

42 cranes in operation. Additionally in

stock listings on the local market and

seen as an opportunity for Singapore

the 1980s Singapore had emerged as a

creating thousands of new, office-based

was also sometimes a threat and, while

major producer of bunker fuel and was

jobs for its generally highly educated

Singapore had survived the economic

able to keep the price low in a generally


quakes of the 1980s in robust form,

oil inflationary world. Cheap bunker fuel was a significant inducement to the

Singapore had weathered the storms of the early- and mid-1980s remarkably

‘Engaging China’ was to be a buzz

the 1990s were to provide additional challenges.

www.splash247.com 35

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A soft landing Asian tiger Singapore fared better than most through 1997’s Asian Financial Crisis


he 1990s looked set to be a

Delta. PSA too was becoming

good decade for Singapore, and

involved deeply with China.

its port. In the first year of the

In 1996 PSA established its

decade PSA crossed the 5m teu in a year

first ever overseas project in

mark and became the world’s largest

Dalian. Singapore was moving

container port. The Keppel Terminal

up the value chain; going

began operations and a year later the

global as an exporter and

PSA’s Brani Terminal also went into

an investor and becoming

operation. Volumes through PSA’s

both the world’s largest

terminals surged – by 1994 Singapore

transhipment port by some

passed the landmark of 10m teu in a

margin and also a centre

single year.

for hi-tech innovation in

It was the decade of containerisation

petro-chemical, bio-tech and

as the rising ‘Asian tiger’ economies

pharmaceuticals. In January

emerged as ‘demon exporters’ and

1995 Singapore cemented its position

major regional economy to suffer

China’s experiments with Special

as a global economic power by joining

almost no fall out from the crisis was

Economic Zones paid off and it became

the World Trade Organisation.

China with its protected currency and

a major exporter too and the so-called

Perhaps a high point in Singapore’s

‘factory of the world’. At the same time

economic growth and emergence in the

and textiles. China was now one of

Asian nations’ demand for oil, other

1990s was the 1997 acquisition of the

Singapore’s largest trading partners and

commodities and primary inputs surged

shipping line APL by NOL for $285m.

a major investment destination.

to new record levels and much of this

In response to the growing movement

transhipped through Singapore. The

of goods of all sorts – from refrigerated

been tough ones for Southeast Asia;

lines of VLCCs and containerships

foods to dangerous chemicals – around

recovery would take years in some

queuing up to pass through Singapore

the region APL Logistics was formed to

regional economies who, after having

grew ever longer.

position the company as a major force

to secure loans for multinational

in managing supply chain operations in

lenders would have to impose swingeing

the region.

austerity programmes and see their

At the same time Singapore itself emerged as a leading high-end, valueadded manufacturer of semi-conductors

However, once again it was outside

global demand for its cheap electronics

The last few years of the 1990s had

currencies and markets suffer long-term

and other hi-tech components, while

forces that rocked Singapore. The Asian

damage. But Singapore had had one

also extending its reach into the global

Financial Crisis erupted in July 1997.

major advantage – its oldest and most

finance, banking and knowledge working

Singapore was better positioned than its

reliable advantage. While many of Asia’s

economies. These were record years for

neighbours and close trading partners

economies had been hit exports had

retail sales and tourism too – Changi

in the Association of South East Asian

kept on being shipped and the West’s

had emerged as the major airport hub

Nations (ASEAN) such as Indonesia,

appetite for consumer goods from

for the region.

the Philippines and Thailand, but was

Asia had not slackened at all – indeed

still affected. GDP slumped to just 1.5%

with the availability of easy credit

well-positioned vis-à-vis the emerging

growth in 1998; the island’s stock and

in Europe and North America it had

economy of China. Trade with China

property markets took a severe beating.

burgeoned. The containerships kept on

hit S$3bn in 1990 and kept on growing.

But still the underlying robustness

crisscrossing the oceans and calling at

Singapore put down roots in China –

and the diversification of Singapore’s


most publicly with the much-publicised

economy over the 1980s and 1990s

Suzhou Industrial Park in 1994, close

helped the country to rebound to 5.4%

The 21st century was hailed as being the

to the rapidly emerging megalopolis

GDP growth in 1999. It had been what

era of globalisation. Singapore and its

of Shanghai and in the heart of the

economists termed a soft landing.

port were more than ready to welcome

manufacturing belt of the Yangtze River

Also helpful was the fact that the one

that kind of century.

Singapore appeared exceptionally

And so the century came to an end.

www.splash247.com 37


The world’s port of call In the 21st century the Lion City has become by popular consent the world’s top international maritime centre


y the new century Asia’s port infrastructure looked

the Keppel Terminal. These joint terminals mirrored the

talk of ‘killer apps’ rather than simply advantages but, for Singapore, the

unrecognisable from 1965. PSA

Singapore government’s attempts to

foundation of its success remains the

continued to build – the Pasir Panjang

further cement ties with key trading

same in 2015 as it did in 1819 – its

Terminal opened in 2000 and continues

nations through the agreements between

willingness to open out to the world and

to expand through land reclamation.

New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer

trade with it. That has grown from being

By 2005 PSA announced it was

Economic Partnership and the Free

simply a weight station and a refuelling

handling 20m teu a year, a remarkable

Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations

depot, a place to take on fresh water

achievement considering 30 years prior

with Japan, Australia and the United

and aggregate goods from numerous

it was handling none. Current plans

States in 2000. More FTAs have followed

regional islands and markets. Today it

would allow the combined PSA terminals

over the ensuring decade. Early in the

is as much about taking expertise into

to handle 65m teu per year – quite a

2000s Singapore’s influential Economic

the hinterlands of China – PSA has

growth over the 1m milestone in 1982.

Review Committee noted that the island

operations in many Chinese ports – or

To secure business against the rise

state should encourage, “A globalised

the old trading partners of Europe and

of other regional ports the PSA began

economy where Singapore is a key node

Japan, the emerging markets of Latin

to enter into a variety of joint-venture

in the global network, linked to all the

America and India, regional nations

terminals. In 2003 the COSCO-PSA

major economies.” Singapore rapidly

such as Vietnam or Indonesia, or other

Terminal (CPAT) went operational

embraced the globalisation concept.

key global hubs such as Saudi Arabia

at Pasir Panjang Terminal; two years

In the nineteenth century Singapore’s

or Turkey. But PSA’s terminals remain

later saw the opening of a jointly

great advantage was its deepwater

its core business and Singapore’s most

managed terminal between PSA and

harbour and location on the most

deeply rooted economic activity – in

Mediterranean Shipping Company

crucial node of East-West trade. This

2014 PSA Singapore was the first port in

(MSC) at Pasir Panjang; 2007 saw PSA

advantage was accentuated by Sir

the world to have cumulatively handled

join with NYK and K Line to open a

Stamford Raffles and his concept of

500m teu. PSA’s slogan ‘The World’s

dedicated car terminal; and in 2008 a

Singapore as a free port and the world’s

Port of Call’ doesn’t look like changing

joint container terminal PIL- PSA within

major transhipment hub. Today, we

anytime soon.

www.splash247.com 39


Exchange to spearhead renewed finance push Expect to hear of more shipping IPOs in the republic once the markets pick up


ingapore, regularly topping polls as the world’s greatest international shipping centre, is looking to boost

the finance side of its offerings. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is working in a tripartite group to promote shippingrelated listings on the Singapore Exchange (SGX). The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) is the other partner in the group. The total market capitalisation of the 62 maritime listings on the Singapore bourse stood at S$45bn ($32.69bn) as of the end of September, according to SGX. The group will be benchmarking SGX against the current top bourses in maritime listings: the Oslo Bors and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). At September’s Singapore Shipping

freight agreements (FFAs) clearing in

of gravity has been tilting towards Asia

Association dinner, Esben Poulsson, the

Asian trading hours, Splash understands.

where an increasing number of key

new SSA president, told attendees the

The likes of Noble and Cargill have been

European participants have enhanced

republic needed to up its game on ship

urging the SGX to up its FFA game for

their trading and broking infrastructure

finance. “We cannot sit on our laurels,”

years and the SGX is willing to respond

to participate in the Asian timezone.

he said, adding: “We feel we are a little

and give London’s LCH.Clearnet a run

Such growth momentum will continue

weak in the capital markets and listings.”

for its money, sources connected to the

as the number and type of shipping

SGX have told Splash.

players, such as physical participants,

Singapore’s push for more shipping listings comes at a time where other

“In developing the FFA market, SGX

exchanges are seeing their shipping

recognises the importance of a robust

and supported by the underlying activity

exposure diminish. Local shipping

Asian-centric marketplace which is

in the dry bulk market in this region,” the

communities in both London and

well supported with an internationally

source said.

Hong Kong have called for their local

accepted regulatory framework,” a

exchanges to up their game in chasing

spokesperson for SGX told Splash.

shipping listings this year. SGX has been upping its game a great

SGX is attempting to increase the

brokers and banks, increase over time

Once again Singapore is stealing a chunk of business that a decade ago would have been in the purview of Hong

number of Asian participants with

Kong, something not lost on Hong Kong

deal of late when it comes to shipping-

hedging needs or who are seeking

owner, Kenneth Koo, the chairman of dry

related offerings. Its new LNG pricing

exposure to freight prices. It is also

bulk owner, TCC Group. “Hong Kong is

mechanism (see page 48) has been well

trying to reach out to and share with

not identified as ‘Asia; from a shipping

received by the sector, while it has plans

freight participants how to manage their

standpoint, Singapore has assumed

to grow its dry bulk expertise soon.

price risks, the spokesperson said.

that mantle. Hong Kong has also lost

The exchange is taking heed of major customers to try and introduce forward

“Though the majority of the trading may take place in Europe, the centre

its identity as a dry bulk hub,” Koo told Splash recently.

www.splash247.com 41



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Harsh winters tend to follow Indian summers The fall in the price of oil has hammered Singapore’s top two shipyards leading some to speculate a merger is the best way to survive


eteorologists will tell you

convinced low oil prices are here to

good jobs for Singaporeans, but the

harsh winters tend to follow

stay for at least the next couple of years

continued transformation of the industry

Indian summers. Singaporean

Singapore’s top two yards are doing all

is critical for its long-term success,” Beh

yards can vouch for this swift change. No

they can to make their organisations


other sector in Singapore has been hit


so hard by the low oil prices worldwide

Keppel chief executive Loh Chin Hua

Merger mooted

than the republic’s main yards run by

said towards the end of October that

What Keppel and Sembcorp are suffering

Keppel and Sembcorp. The pair - who

his company was readying itself for “a

is by no means unique. Shipbuilders

defied the odds for much of the past

possibly longer winter” by slashing its

across Asia have been whacked by the

decade, building up enviable offshore

workforce. “We are making ourselves

downturn in shipping and then the

orderbooks - have yet to secure any new

more efficient [and] leaner,” the Keppel

drop in the price of oil. In plenty of

rig orders this year, a sharp turnaround

boss said.

other shipbuilding nations – led by

from the recent past where they have

In early November the chairman

South Korea and China – consolidation

the led the world in snaffling up rig

of the Economic Development Board

among shipbuilders is now taking


(EDB), Bew Swan Gin, said Singapore’s

place. Could Sembcorp and Keppel join

offshore and marine industries would

forces in this downturn? A far-fetched

combined with a severe drop in new

need to reinvent themselves to ride out

idea considering the ferocity of the

orders, have seen both conglomerates

the downturn.

rivalry between the pair? However, a

Contract cancellations and delays,

report poor results in the first three quarters of the year. With most analysts

“The sector is a significant contributor to our economy, providing

In plenty of other shipbuilding nations – led by South Korea and China – consolidation among shipbuilders is now taking place

recent report by local bank DBS said that consolidation is possible for both companies, as restructuring will allow the two rigbuilders to streamline their cost structure and improve their competitiveness on the international front.

www.splash247.com 43



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DBS noted that in the previous downcycle, Singapore shipyards went through a major consolidation during the late 1990s, where various mergers resulted in the formation of the two government-owned shipyard groups.

A potential merger of KepSMM will create a global champion with a powerful combination

This time, the shipbuilders are

Cameron International’s offshore rig business, which includes jack-up rigs and after-sales services. “Conglomerates tend to perform well through crises due to their access to capital,” commented Keppel boss Loh. Sembcorp Marine, meanwhile,

facing an even greater challenge, with

overseas experience plus SMM’s world

recently opened a new steel structure

contract wins sinking to record lows and

class facilities in Singapore and Brazil,

fabrication workshop. The 120,000 sq

manpower woes adding insult to injury.

which complement Keppel’s older

m facility, the largest facility of its kind

“This may force the yards to look for

facilities. KepSMM will account for

in Southeast Asia, will integrate with the

ways to restructure. We do not rule out

almost one-third of the global market

firm’s other capabilities at its flagship

restructuring, mergers and acquisitions

share for drilling rigs by orderbook,”

Tuas Boulevard Yard.

possibilities, as any cost rationalisation

DBS noted.

exercises will boost competitiveness of Singapore yards amid rising competition

In July this year, Sembcorp Marine consolidated from a multi-business-

Ploughing ahead

unit organisation structure into a single

burden of operating shipyards in Brazil,”

Despite the drop in rig orders both

‘Transformation for Growth’ strategy.

said the report.

Keppel and Sembcorp remain in

from Korea and China, and the added

brand and company under its long-term The company now focuses on

expansive moods. Keppel has used the

four key capabilities across its global

will create a global champion with

downturn in the oil and gas industry

operations, namely rigs and floaters,

a powerful combination - Keppel’s

for investment. In August, it announced

repairs and upgrades, offshore platforms

market leadership, branding, and greater

the acquisition for $100m of US-based

and specialised shipbuilding.

“A potential merger of KepSMM

www.splash247.com 45


Rethink needed if sector is to prosper High costs and a lack of local manpower mean shipmanagement in the Lion Republic has not taken off as some had expected


ingapore’s shipmanagement sector looks stale with no real large contenders appearing on the

global scene. On the contrary, the sector, which is, like so much else in shipping these days, ripe for consolidation, could see any number of local shipmanagers swallowed up by other players from around the world. Location has not been helpful here. The cost of doing business in the republic, the aspirations of the local youth, the lack of a genuine shipmanagement culture have all meant that while the republic has thrived as a hub for all manner of other maritimerelated businesses when it comes to shipmanagement it is still relatively

others might be thinking in the same

business here, many shipmanagers in

small fry without any champions that


the republic have moved to shift as

can boast more than 200 ships under full technical management. Like so many sectors in shipping

It is well known that many European

much of their back office operations to

shipmanagers have been looking at

cheaper climes, led by the Philippines.

making a beachhead in Asia with a

These high costs locally are also

these days, perhaps more so in fact,

possible acquisition in Singapore, but

inhibiting many owners from shifting

economies of scale are deemed vital for

willing sellers thus far have proven to be

here. Despite significant wooing from

prosperity in shipmanagement. By way

hard to come across.

Singapore delegations, Greek owners,

of example, the architect of this year’s

The fact is, in actual headcounts,

many of whom are looking for new

mega shipping merger, Peter Cremers,

Singapore’s shipmanagement

homes in the wake of the ongoing

who combined two Hong Kong entities,

community is declining, more so than

financial meltdown in Athens, are not

Anglo-Eastern and Univan, tells Splash:

most other major shipping centres.

convinced the Lion Republic is the

“There are clear advantages of size so

As a result of the high costs of doing

answer to their needs. High costs and a

When it comes to shipmanagement it is still relatively small fry without any champions that can boast more than 200 ships under full technical management

lack of the right manpower are cited as reasons. When it comes to shipmanagement, despite many concessions and initiatives by the authorities, it is clearly a sector within Singapore shipping that needs to be relooked at if it is to prosper.

www.splash247.com 47

Gastech serves as coronation for city’s hub ambitions As with many other commodities in Asia, Singapore is positioning itself as the best place to trade gas


n the face of it when Singapore

Asia has prompted plans to establish a

importing terminal since 2013. It has

domestic natural gas trading market in

become Asia’s LNG hub the aim

three tanks with capacity set to rise from


should have looked fanciful. This tiny

6m tons a year 11m tons by 2017 with the

The city-state’s government plans to

country has no gas resources, no real

addition of a fourth tank. Work to identify

set up a Secondary Gas Trading Market

gas infrastructure at the time, and was

where to position a second terminal to

(SGTM) in Singapore for trading LNG

some distance away from the key demand

the east of the republic continues. The

and natural gas domestically on a short-

drivers in the region: Japan, South Korea

government has intimated a second

term basis. The plans were announced

and China.

terminal could be operational by the early

by S. Iswaran, minister for trade and

part of the next decade.

industry, at the opening of Singapore’s

However, this is the Lion City, a place where government, once it has made up its mind to be a hub of a certain sector, throws everything at it. This year’s Gastech, the LNG’s big annual roving confab, held in Singapore this time round, seemingly served as a the republic’s coronation as Asia’s LNG centre.


Singapore has had an operational LNG

set out about five years ago to


Rising LNG supply and demand within

International Energy Week in late October.

Enhancing the maritime supply chain is in our blood in Singapore, honed by many decades of experience as a seaport and trading hub


A well-supported Asian LNG price will be helpful for LNG trading in Asia Teo, in his keynote address at Gastech in late October. Teo said the Singapore SGX LNG Index Group (SLInG), a weekly index based on the submissions from international LNG players who offer their assessment of LNG prices this end, could “evolve to be the Asian LNG price over time”. The index, launched by the Energy Market Company in September, now comprises about 20 players. “Singapore is well-equipped to host this new and more open way of doing business in the LNG sector,” said the chief executive of Pavilion Energy Seah Moon Ming at the same conference, adding that the country, as neither a significant LNG seller or buyer, will provide a “neutral platform” for regional and international markets. Home-grown LNG company Pavilion Energy is growing its business. Seah told Gastech delegates that the firm, backed by state investment company Temasek Holdings, has signed a 10-year LNG agreement with a unit of Russia’s gas “An SGTM can yield several potential

will aim to provide more detailed

benefits. It will allow domestic gas price

information on the long-term energy

discovery that reflects Singapore’s

outlook, the minister said.

demand and supply conditions. Second,

The city-state is also assessing

giant Gazprom . It has also inked a memorandum of understanding with Chinese energy company Huadian to supply LNG from

gas users will be able to complement

proposed land allocation frameworks for

2020 onwards, in addition to a similar

their portfolio of long- and medium-term

new power plants. Currently, more than

agreement with Japan’s Jera Co to jointly

supplies with short-term supplies,” the

90% of Singapore’s electricity is produced

procure and invest in LNG.

minister told delegates.

from imported natural gas, including LNG,

“It will also pave the way for the potential establishment of a gas futures

purchased under bilateral contracts. Singapore can also lead the formation

market,” Iswaran said, but did not specify

of a neutral LNG price in Asia, just like

a timeframe for the scheme.

it has done for other commodities such

“We aim to remain competitive and effective by responding to shifts in all aspects of demand, supply and price,” Seah said. “Enhancing the maritime supply chain

The Singapore Exchange plans to

as oil, rubber or iron ore, according to

is in our blood in Singapore, honed by

create an Asian benchmark for LNG,

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore

many decades of experience as a seaport

which will negate the commodity’s

chief executive Teo Eng Cheong.

and trading hub,” Seah noted presciently.

reliance on oil-linked pricing. Singapore’s Energy Market Authority

“A well-supported Asian LNG price will be helpful for LNG trading in Asia,” noted

The city’s gas hub credentials are growing fast.

www.splash247.com 49


Maritime drawcard trumps annual toxic fires Just 18% of those surveyed for this magazine say they’d relocate if this year’s smog from Indonesia became the annual norm bulk owner Pioneer Marine, comments: “If two months out of the year are spent with the haze, expats will not want to live and work in Singapore.” Matt Cannock, managing director at insurance firm Markel International Singapore, says it’s unlikely his company would reposition from the city-state as a result of the haze, but it would certainly make he and his team deliberate about expansion plans. Mary Baey, ceo of Satcom Global Singapore, complains: “It does disrupt the day-to-day operations of the business especially where engineers working on ships installing satellite communications hardware are put at risk due to decreased


ingapore, famed for its commitment to green urban living, has long been bedeviled by the land-clearing

actions of neighbouring Indonesian plantation owners. This year’s haze induced by Indonesia’s fires has been especially bad, the worst in the Lion City since 1997. The toxic smoke has brought significant disruptions to business as Indonesians went about raising 21,000

In just a few months the fires alone have emitted more carbon than the annual emissions of Germany or Japan It is testament to the remarkably strong

Steve Dillon, from BBC Chartering’s Singapore office, relates how staff there have been advised to take holidays if possible away from Singapore during the haze period. More incredibly, Dillon reveals one solution the German heavylift operator has mulled to keep working in years to come as the thick deadly smoke hoves into view. “We have also considered to build or purchase an office purpose-designed

sq km of forests and peatland by the end

drawcard that is the maritime cluster in

accommodation barge, which can be

of October. 21,000 sq km – that’s around

Singapore that just 18% of the 250 people

towed to healthier climes,” he says.

30 times larger than the island republic of

surveyed for this magazine said they’d

Singapore. In just a few months the fires

leave the country if the recent bout of

Offshore Consultants’ Singapore office,

alone have emitted more carbon than the

haze became the annual norm.

who remembers the horrendous 1997

annual emissions of Germany or Japan.

Nevertheless, many expatriates –

Captain Jonathan Walker from London

haze well, says it is vital people stand up

These emissions – which have harmed up

especially those with young families – will

to 75m people in the region this year –

mull alternative destinations if the smoke

are likely to add about 3% to total global

does repeat to similar levels next year, our

be accepted as a norm. It needs to be

greenhouse gas emissions from human

survey found.

urgently addressed by all the regional

activities for 2015.


visibility and dangerous air pollution.”


Pankaj Khanna, ceo of fast growing dry

to make sure action is taken. “We do not believe that the haze should

governments,” he stresses.


Hotspot cooling off? Beefed up patrols by the littoral states appear to be working


hotspot for piracy, but could

efforts to tackle these incidents by

posed by robbers and pirates in the

the worst be over? According to

the authorities and shipping industry

region the Malaysian and Indonesian

piracy watchdog, ReCAAP, there were

collectively and the importance of timely

navies did form a joint rapid deployment

183 incidents of sea robbery or piracy

reporting by shipowners/operators/

team this August.

in the region last year. Moreover, in the

masters, and prompt responses by

UK security firm Dryad Maritime

first nine months of this year there were

maritime enforcement agencies,”

says this measure is not enough, urging

another 161 incidents, leading to some

ReCAAP urged.

authorities in the region to establish a

outheast Asia is the world’s

to speculate the scourge could hit new records in 2015. “High demand for illicit oil, together

“There is need for continuous

The majority of the incidents reported during the first nine months of the year involved perpetrators operating

In response to the growing threat

permanent presence on the Singapore Strait. More could be done to tackle the

with a well-established black market,

in groups of one to six men, consistent

root causes of piracy, argues Matt

will continue to drive maritime attacks

with past trends.

Cannock from insurance firm, Markel

in Southeast Asia over the coming

In 83 % of the incidents, the crew was

International Singapore.

months, meaning small tanker owners

not injured, although there were reports

face operational, financial and security

of crew being threatened and taken

Authority (MPA) of Singapore, Andrew

threats,” warned maritime security


Tan, tells Splash the republic is doing all

provider PVI in a release earlier this year.

Captain Ashok Sabnis, founder

However, what is most noticeable is

of Singapore-based Goodwood Ship

The CEO of the Maritime and Port

it can to fight maritime crime. “Tackling the sea robberies and

the recent drop off in attacks as littoral

Management, tells Splash that the local

fuel siphoning incidents in region will

states around the Malacca Straits,

maritime crime spree needs to be tackled

require strong cooperation between

Malaysia and Indonesia get their act

by the tripartite system of cooperation

regional countries. On the part of

together. The International Maritime

between Singapore, Malaysia and

Singapore, we have beefed up our

Bureau notes there were just two

Indonesia .

security presence in our waters/area

hijackings reported in the third quarter this year. “The robust actions taken particularly

“A joint force of naval patrol and rapid response teams would go a long

work with our neighbours to tackle the

way towards solving what has become

threat,” he says.

by the Indonesian and Malaysian

a major problem for shipping in the

authorities – including the arrest of one

region,” he says.

the alleged masterminds – is precisely the type of deterrent required,” said IMB director Pottengal Mukundan. However, ReCAAP warned in its latest report this October that there was no room for complacency when transiting these waters still.

of operations and will continue to

Fourth quarter piracy figures should paint the full picture.

The robust actions taken particularly by the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities – including the arrest of one the alleged masterminds – is precisely the type of deterrent required www.splash247.com 51


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Talent pool exhaustion Like it not, the government needs to change its immigration rules


or the third year running the single

Quite so, concurs Captain Ashok

The HR professionals

issue that vexed respondents to

Sabnis, the founder of Goodwood Ship

So what do the professional recruiters

our Singapore maritime survey the


make of the local market? By and

most was in the field of human capital.

“Sadly the fact is most Singaporeans

large, the four maritime HR experts

Despite some measures by government,

do not see a life at sea as a viable or

we contacted for this report concur

the city-state clearly appears to be talent

attractive career choice,” he says, adding:

the market is indeed very tight, but

tight – and not cheap either.

“I have heard Singaporeans refer to a life

activity remains fevered in what is by

at sea as being in a floating prison for

many recent polls the world’s brightest

which you have committed no crime.”

international maritime centre.

Chris Kirton, managing director at Norstar Ship Management, does not

So many respondents urged the

Matt Conway, managing director

talent pool in Singapore is exhausted

government to review the work permit

of Faststream’s Singapore operations,

with many substandard people in the

issue again.

highlights the squeezed nature of the

mince his words, commenting: “The


Says Caroline Huot, head of lube

available workforce.

supplier, UniMarine: “The decision

“Securing good local talent with

owner Pioneer Marine, bemoans the

of authorities to restrict foreigners

the right career motivations is of a

fact that salaries in some cases are now

employment in Singapore is an issue

premium,” he says. For expatriates,

higher than London.

when looking for specialists and

Conway explains it is becoming

“The local labour market is almost at

particularly when language skills or

increasingly difficult to attract the best

100% employment,” he warns, calling like

specific technical skills are needed.”

talent to Singapore due to the high

Pankaj Khanna, the ceo of dry bulk

many others in our poll to 250 people

Other suggestions included this from

cost of living and the fact that most

for easier rules on immigration so

Edna Lim from C&C Technologies who

companies no longer offer the traditional

expatriates can see a path to citizenship

said the government should provide

expatriate package including housing

or permanent residency. “This will attract

better schemes to encourage business to

and schooling allowances.

talent,” he insists.

send their staff for training.

Biju Oommen, ceo at feederline Orient Express Lines, tells Splash: “It is getting increasingly difficult to find suitable talent in Singapore. The shipping industry seems to have lost its glamour to attract new talent from the local pool.”

The talent pool in Singapore is exhausted with many substandard people in the market

“If you consider that private schooling in Singapore is amongst the most expensive in the world, this can in many cases essentially rule out the possibility for expats with children which clearly further narrows an already very finite talent pool,” Conway points out.

www.splash247.com 53


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According to Jason Tay, managing director of Singapore’s Direct Search Asia, 2015 recruitment activities continue to be busy for the shipping and commodity sectors, but the same cannot be said for the maritime and oil and gas

I have heard Singaporeans refer to a life at sea as being in a floating prison for which you have committed no crime “It is very unlikely that the creation of

Parry observes that Singapore is

sectors specifically with shipbuilders,

new blood – locals – will catch up with

in the same boat as any developed

OEMs and offshore drilling and

the demand for talent in the industry, at

country where its people have many

production asset owners, as the market

least for the next few years,” Tay says.

opportunities other than shipping

continues to be affected by the sluggish oil price. “With more mergers and acquisitions

Phil Parry, chairman of recruitment

competing for their attention.

firm Spinnaker Global, admits of the

This is a view also held by Rory

local HR scene: “High staff turnover

McGuire from Flagship Management

happening in the market, employees

and difficulties recruiting have become

who tells Splash: “Singapore is no

working for these companies feel less

a perennial complaint.” He notes how

different to any other global locations

confident with the business, hence

the industry has been honing in on

– the talent pool is generally small and

triggering interest to look out for better

ever more specialist skills meaning that

is not helped by owners and managers

opportunities. With this in mind, the

candidate supply is tight.

identifying office-based staff as the

majority of hiring activities in 2015 are related to filling existing vacancies,” Tay says. The government decision since 2012

“When a good one floats by, lassoo them quickly,” Parry stresses. Given the paucity of local

principal source of cost reduction.” McGuire says clients are still focusing on technical and commercial

seafarers, Parry has a specific urgent

positions, something our survey also

to promote locals in favour of foreigners

recommendation, telling Splash that the

backed up.

is hurting maritime employment, with

government would be well advised to

Tay reporting there simply is not

identify the shipmanagement function

Splash survey, recruitment will remain

enough local talent to match Singapore’s

as a shortage occupation in need of

the number one issue for the local

broadening maritime hub status.

relaxation of work permit rules.

shipping industry.

As it stands it seems come next year’s

www.splash247.com 55

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6 exhibition halls and 21,000sqm of exhibition space 14,239 visitors from Asia 1,518 participating companies from 60 countries 16 official pavilions High-powered conferences and seminars

APM 2016 exhibition space almost sold out. Book your space now!

APM 2016 visitor registration now open. Register now!

T: +65 6780 4586 E: apm@reedexpo.com.sg W: www.apmaritime.com

Marina Bay Sands


Bring your business cards Splash guides you through the events to attend in Singapore in 2016


ant to meet shipowners and managers? Need more options for suppliers or

partners? Networking at events is a great way to make contacts in the maritime industry, we all know that, and Singapore is probably the best place in the world to do so on a regular basis. As the industry mostly struggles, making new contacts and turning them into new customers will be crucial in 2016. This is a guide on what events you

will be the centre of attention again as

chance to meet plenty of shipowners

should attend in order to do so.

Singapore Maritime Week returns for

from Singapore and beyond. There are

In March comes the largest exhibition

the eleventh time. The slogan for the

always owners from Greece, Hong Kong

of the year, Asia Pacific Maritime.

week is People, Ideas, Opportunity and

and Thailand in attendance amongst

Taking up two floors at the iconic

there will be plenty of all three. In 2015


Marina Bay Sands complex, this show

the week played host to around 30 events

brings a host of big name companies

involving more than 50,000 attendees.

from Singapore and around the world.

If you’re a member of the Singapore

On the Friday of the same week is the Singapore Shipping Association annual dinner. For this event, our

You’ll find plenty of industry people

Shipping Association (SSA) then June

advice is clear, get there early and fill

at the event, it draws around 15,000

provides a good chance to catch up with

all your pockets with business cards!

visitors and there is usually a host of

Singapore’s shipowning community as

In 2015, the event played host to more

conferences being held both within and

one of the association’s quarterly cocktail

than 2,200 people and that was on

external to the venue.

parties follows on from SSA’s annual

the day after a public holiday. Expect

Making its debut during the same

general meeting. The AGM is where the

more to attend in 2016, including all

week will be the Maritime CEO Forum,

council and committees are formed, and

of Singapore’s shipowning community

organised by the team behind this

so plenty of shipping’s top bosses will

including offshore owners. Bankers,

publication. The event is designed as the

be in attendance. If you’re not a member,

brokers, managers, yards, it would be

anti-shipping conference, in that it will

you can always attend as a guest of a

hard to find an industry segment not

be a half-day with panels packed full of

member, just make sure you bring plenty

represented at the event. The pre-dinner

shipowner and shipmanager ceos. No

of business cards as there will be well

networking is second to none, and once

presentations, no slides, no selling, just

over 500 people in attendance.

the early speeches are over attendees

the top people in the industry discussing

September is synonymous with the

wander the ballroom in search of

pressing issues. The Maritime CEO

Singapore Grand Prix and F1 excitement

friends, colleagues and clients. There

Forum will be limited in size to ensure

soon turns into excitement from the ship

are several after parties for those that

all attendees can make the most of the

finance community as Marine Money

haven’t had enough by the end.

day, network and then attendees can

returns on the Tuesday and Wednesday

relax at the afterparty which will include

after the race. Located at the St Regis

then at the end of November the iconic

additional invited guests.

Hotel, the event not only draws the entire

OSEA event will be held at Marina Bay

ship finance community but it’s a good

Sands. This exhibition and conference is

Moving onto April, the industry

The Maritime CEO Forum is designed as the antishipping conference: no presentations, no slides, no selling, just the top people in the industry discussing pressing issues

Lastly, if oil and gas is your thing,

unchallenged in Singapore in terms of size and crowd. Over four days expect to see more than 1,500 exhibiting companies and more than 28,000 visitors - so once again, our advice is, print more business cards.

www.splash247.com 57

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Beyond the obvious Graeme Somerville-Ryan teases some off-the-beaten-track places


aritime conferences are

Labrador Park (or Labrador Nature

generally hard work and

Reserve) is a great escape from the

educationally focused. Barely

concrete jungle. A reminder of colonial

and ‘exclusivity’ of the speakeasy concept… Operation Dagger: (7 Ann Siang Hill,

a day goes by in Singapore without some

times and the Second World War defence

Singapore, 069791): An underground

shipping-related event (see page 57). As

of Singapore, this reserve combines

cocktail bar with great décor and

such, a smart attendee should plan for

thick vegetation, gun emplacements, and

an impressive set to ceiling lights

both diurnal and nocturnal ‘networking’

a waterfront park. It’s also handy to the

(I wouldn’t want to be the lighting

opportunities. After all, too much focus

MPA building if you find yourself in that


on the state of the markets is now widely

part of town.

accepted to be an HSE issue. So, where should you take a key client

Lunch: The second or third most

Location: Try and find the glass door with a rectangle and inverted crown.

important meal of the day. Laksa is a

The bar is located at the bottom of the

for a nice bite to eat, and perhaps an

coconut curry dish made with chicken,


event-appropriate sundowner? And, if

seafood, and noodles. It has a bit of

you’ve got a spare hour during the day,

spice to it, and it is a local favourite.

shop’ front in the spy movie Kingsman:

how can you make the most of the local

The Zhen Mei laksa on Bukit Merah

the Secret Service, The Library comes

experiences at hand? Pay attention…

Lane has a great local reputation and

with a ‘front ‘ business and a secret

your marketing ROIs and KPIs just might

the claypot spin on this recipe results

door. However, it also comes with great

depend on the following.

in wonderfully rich flavours. Again, this

cocktails and food. So…if you fancy

is a local outdoors dining experience.

yourself as a covert operative (with a

Breakfast—it’s the most important meal

This hawker centre is relatively hard to

possible drinking problem), this is the

of the day. Roti prata is a local favorite.

find, tucked in between local shops and

place to be.

A flour-based crispy pancake, roti is

apartments (ask a taxi driver to show

one of Singapore’s signature dishes. To

you the way). The surrounding area is

47 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089151,

get the best roti you have to ‘go local’

also well worth exploring.

PH: 6533 2001

Let’s start at the beginning.

so this will mean an open-air restaurant

The Library: Much like the ‘tailor’s

Location: Through the Tailor’s Shop,

28 Hong Kong Street: Located

or hawker centre. Located a little out

Nocturnal drinks

at, er, 28 Hongkong Street, through a

of town, one of the best roti stalls in

Although the haunts of Boat Quay,

non-descript, unsigned, door 28 Hong

Singapore is Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s

Clarke Quay, and Club Street still pull in

Kong Street is Singapore’s original

Super Crispy Roti Prata. The trip

the crowds, Singapore is going through

‘unbranded’ bar and a Splash favourite.

is worth it, and this is one of the last

a bit of a speakeasy phase. This offers

Internationally lauded, this is one of

places to (reputedly) still make their own

up a few different options for client

Singapore’s best ranked establishments.


entertainment. So…ruining the surprise

Reservations are essential.

www.splash247.com 59


Your thoughts The results are in from our latest Singapore poll in which 250 people were surveyed Do you consider Singapore to be the most cost efficient place to base your Asian operations?

Is the government doing enough to protect vessels from piracy and theft in the region?

Yes 61%

Yes 52%

No 39%

No 48%

If Singapore was not your preferred option as an Asian base, what would be the preferred option?

If the recent bout of haze becomes the annual norm, would it force you to move operations out of Singapore?

Kuala Lumpur 24% Hong Kong 15% Dubai










Yes 18%


No 82%


Can you find sufficient talent in Singapore to satisfy your business needs?

Has Singapore reached a peak as an international maritime centre?

Yes 38%

Yes 37%

No 62%

No 63%

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Singapore Market Report 2015  

High local costs and limited human resources remain the two largest sources of complaints for those involved in shipping in Singapore, accor...

Singapore Market Report 2015  

High local costs and limited human resources remain the two largest sources of complaints for those involved in shipping in Singapore, accor...

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