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PIL forced to defend its late payments again

Pacific International Lines (PIL) has been forced once again today to insist its business can carry on despite further evidence of debts piling up.

Box manufacturing subsidiary Singamas issued a release to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sunday warning PIL owes it $147.7m, a majority of which is overdue.

A spokesperson for PIL maintained today that the liner is committed to enter into a commercially feasible agreement with Singamas in relation to the repayment of these trade receivables as soon as reasonably practicable.

Singapore-based PIL, led by SS Teo, is the world’s tenth largest liner with 383,671 slots in its fleet according to data from Alphaliner.

“PIL will continue to work closely with all our business partners and creditors to ensure continued service quality whilst rationalising our services in key markets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America and Oceania,” the spokesperson told Splash.

The Singamas release on Sunday also noted: “The Company understands that the PIL Group is discussing with its other creditors for similar arrangements amid the challenging market conditions and recent global impact by COVID-19, the discussion is progressing well with good supports from the creditors.”

The financial health of PIL has been the source of much conjecture of late with ships being detained and late charter and bunker payments all making headlines. The privately held Singapore liner quit the transpacific tradelane this month, having exited the Asia-Europe trades in April last year. It has also sold its stake in Pacific Direct Line (PDL), which operates the South Pacific as well as selling four of its largest ships. In May last year, subsidiary Singamas sold five of its box manufacturing facilities to Cosco for $565m.

PIL’s business continuity plan to overcome coronavirus kicked in today. Half of PIL’s team in Singapore will work from home until further notice.

“We would like to assure you that all relevant measures have been taken to ensure shipping activities, operations and business are as usual,” the company stressed in a release.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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