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Local pioneer PIL is committed to S'pore
FROM modest beginnings nearly 50 years ago, homegrown shipping company Pacific International Lines (PIL) has today become a premier player in the region and has played its part in Singapore's growth as an international maritime centre (IMC).
The company was founded in 1967 by YC Chang with four coastal vessels trading in Bangkok and Jakarta. Today, it has grown from a coastal shipowner/operator in Singapore to become one of the largest in South-east Asia, with more than 160 modern vessels worldwide
"Singapore and the maritime industry enjoy a synergetic relationship, growing in tandem with each another. The country is also an important transhipment hub for many shipping lines. PIL is no exception. For many years, Singapore has been PIL's Asia-Pacific key transhipment hub and will continue to remain so," says Teo Choo Wee, executive director (fleet) Pacific International Lines.
As Singapore's maritime pioneer, PIL's frequent services call at Singapore port at dedicated berths and it collaborates with stakeholders such as PSA Singapore to promote Singapore as an IMC.
Besides the business element, PIL also participates in the grooming of future maritime pillars through collaborations with educational institutions to reinforce the supply of maritime talent for Singapore to remain relevant as an IMC, adds Mr Teo.
On PIL's key strengths, Mr Teo says: "Our range of business means that we are able to offer an array of services ranging from container manufacturing, container shipping, logistics services and the newly introduced trucking service to our customers to complete their needs,"
PIL's greatest strength is its flexibility in trade and fleet deployment supported by the different sizes of its vessels. This makes PIL quick in managing the demand and implementing changes quickly, ensuring non-disrupted services to its ports of call.
Recording steady growth over the past 50 years, PIL's business today encompasses shipping, container manufacturing and other logistics related services with liner shipping at its core. PIL's fleets and vessels are available at over 500 locations in 100 countries with a strong presence in China, the Middle East, Africa, Indian sub-continent, Far East, Americas, Europe, Black Sea, Oceania and South East Asia.
One of PIL's subsidiaries, Singamas Container Holdings Ltd, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is the world's second largest container manufacturer with 10 container factories and eight depots in China.
Mr Teo says that PIL is taking several steps to manage its business in the current global shipping downturn. "Despite the challenging global maritime environment, we continue to engage the region actively through the participation in the One Belt, One Road strategy, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"Our engagement is further amplified by the joint venture with PSA Singapore and Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group in the cooperative management of the new Guangxi container terminal in September 2015."
Internally, PIL is investing in improving its capabilities to remain relevant and maintain competitive advantage by promoting greater efficiency and higher productivity in enhancing its shipping lines' services in the long run. These include the renewal of existing IT infrastructure and modernising its fleet to reduce ship operating expenses.
Says Mr Teo: "Our contracted newbuildings, expected to be delivered in 2017-2018, are equipped with highly fuel-efficient engines and optimised hull profile providing maximum operating efficiency, incorporated with environmental friendly features that have low carbon footprint.
"Concurrently, PIL's internal IT frameworks are also undergoing revitalisation for better service deployment and enhanced efficiency and productivity. Additionally, we also work closely with other shippers in utilising our respective assets efficiently while improving our position in the global maritime arena through cooperation in trade routes."
As a local company committed to Singapore, PIL has its own growth plans going forward. "Leveraging our business units, PIL continues to explore business opportunities, especially in emerging markets. We constantly review our services and improve them to meet the demands of our customers," says Mr Teo.