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Leading Chinese shipping company decides to drop anchor here
JIANGSU Steamship, a subsidiary of the Jiangsu Huaxi Group, one of the largest township enterprises in China, has dropped anchor in Singapore to grow its shipping business leveraging the Republic's status as an international maritime centre.
The new shipping entrant to Singapore is seen as cultivating a core group of Chinese ship operators in Singapore, thus injecting more diversity and vibrancy into the country's maritime cluster.
Captain Zhao Bao An, general manager of Jiangsu Steamship, says that the company sees Singapore as a new growth centre and as a first step wants to move its chartering team here.
"Singapore is obviously one of the main maritime, trading and financial centres in the world. Many commodity traders, shipowners and vessel operators have been long established in the city and many others like us are coming here," says Capt Zhao.
"We want to move our chartering team here so that we will have better access to a greater pool of potential clients in the world's leading maritime hub. Besides the strategic location, honest and open government, flexible immigration policies, productive labour forces and outstanding tax system are all critical factors that prompted us to set up operations here."
Jiangsu Steamship registered a shipping company, Jiang Su Steamship Pte Ltd, here in February 2014 and has recently got the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's approval for the Approved International Shipping Enterprises (AIS) incentive scheme.
Capt Zhao says that Jiangsu Steamship has several key strengths as a shipping company. "The company and management team have been dealing with worldwide traders like BHP, Hyundai Glovis, Winsway Resources, RGL Shipping, Bunge Geneva, Swissmarine Asia and Cargill International for many years and maintained very good relationships." These global traders have been using Jiangsu Steamship for carrying various types of commodities such as iron ore, coal and grains.
Jiangsu Steamship Company Limited was established and registered in Hong Kong in March 2010 with its operation and management in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province, China. After five years of steady development, the company now owns 13 bulk carriers with total tonnage of about one million tons in deadweight. Besides operating its own ships, the company established a chartering team in 2012 focusing on operating chartered vessels on various time periods or time-charter trip basis.
Capt Zhao says that times are tough for the global shipping industry, especially dry bulk shipping. Most vessels carrying coal, iron ore and other dry commodities are earning less than their operating costs.
"As dry bulk carrier owners, we are facing the same challenges. Luckily, most of our vessels have lower capital costs and we have full support from Jiangsu Huaxi Group Corporation to tide over the downturn.
"Opportunities are often hidden in downturns. We are replacing our older fleet with younger vessels from the second-hand market at a relatively low cost. We have our own excellent ship management and crew manning team. Our fleet can get optimised support from our management team, so that we can lower our overall operating costs."
Capt Zhao says that the company is looking forward to contributing to Singapore's growth as an international maritime centre. "With our chartering team moving to Singapore, we can contribute about 80 voyages of chartering business to the vessel operating sector of the maritime centre. We are also considering registering our fleet here, to increase the tonnage of the Singapore-flagged fleet."