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Local ship owner eyes expansion

PIL will start to take delivery of 12 new ships from October

Mr Teo: "We are proud to be a truly Singapore-based and owned shipping company." The PIL Group operates a fleet of 155 vessels.

AS home-grown shipping company Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd (PIL) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it has garnered another well deserved accolade. It has been conferred the SRS Ship Owner of the Year Award.

"It is a matter of immense pride for PIL to be conferred the SRS Ship Owner of the Year Award. I would like to dedicate this award to all my PIL colleagues, past and present, including seafarers, who have contributed over the last five decades," PIL's managing director, SS Teo, told The Business Times.

"I would also like to thank my father, PIL's founder and chairman, Mr Y C Chang, for his foresight, vision and guidance over the years which have enabled PIL to grow from a small company with four coastal ships to the largest privately owned shipping company in South-east Asia and ranked as the 14th largest container operator in the world."

Mr Teo says that being conferred the SRS Ship Owner of the Year Award will be a great motivator to all in PIL. The shipping industry has gone through a few very difficult years and is just seeing some recovery, particularly in the container shipping sector.

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"We have been through difficult times and we are confident of steering through this long and deep trough towards our next crest in the shipping business. This prestigious award is a testament to the high quality Singapore-registered ships PIL owns and operates. This will continue to fuel our drive to achieve greater service excellence."

Already, PIL has plans to grow its business. It will start to take delivery of 12 new ships from October this year. These are ultra modern, fuel efficient 11,800 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) vessels. They will be the biggest PIL-operated vessels when delivered.

"The new hardware will improve our cost competitiveness and leapfrog PIL's presence in key target markets. At the same time, PIL will be deepening our service cooperation with partners in these markets to maximise the utilisation of our assets. PIL Group comprises various regional market leaders. Our aim is to maximise the synergy among these different business units to enhance our overall network value," says Mr Teo.

The Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) is a quality and effective flag for PIL. The SRS is ranked as the fifth largest ship registry in the world, with a fleet of more than 4,700 vessels on its register, aggregating over 88 million gross tons. SRS has convenient registration procedures while ensuring that its requirements are adhered to by the owners.

Mr Teo says that all ship owners look forward to an efficient and a responsible flag administration, which is in sync with the regulatory bodies as well as with the business needs of the owners.

"The pro-active attitude of the SRS to address the changing landscape of the shipping industry is a big plus factor in today's economic scenario. Due to the high standards maintained by SRS, the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) considers SRS as a non Flag of Convenience register. All of these are very good reasons for PIL to pick SRS as our first choice to register our vessels," says Mr Teo.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, PIL played host to over 600 local and overseas guests to share with them the achievements made in the past five years and its future plans.

"PIL has also re-affirmed its commitment as a serious maritime player who seizes all opportunities, is bold enough to innovate, continue to improve and explore so as to achieve continuous success in the many years to come.

"We are proud to be a truly Singapore-based and owned, home-grown local shipping company. We will continue to fly our Singapore flag high on the seven seas, doing our best to maintain the high quality of the SRS," adds Mr Teo.

Incorporated in 1967, PIL started out with two vessels. In the early years the focus was primarily on South-east Asia; later it ventured into China, Africa and the Middle East. Within 10 years, PIL expanded its fleet to own and operate over 60 vessels and livestock carriers.

The PIL Group today operates a fleet of 155 vessels consisting primarily of container ships, bulk carriers and multipurpose vessels. While 22 vessels are chartered, the balance 133 vessels are owned by PIL. The fleet is deployed within the PIL Group operating under PIL, Advanced Container Line, Pacific Direct Line and Mariana Express Line network of liner services. Thus, PIL has a global footprint in the shipping industry with a strong focus on emerging markets.