PIL turns 50, nears 500,000 slot mark

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Singapore liner firm Pacific International Lines (PIL), its managing director has given a rare interview today with the Straits Times in which he outlined plans to grow his fleet beyond the 500,000 slot mark.

Teo Siong Seng, better known as SS Teo, said the 12 ships it has on order will take the company’s fleet size beyond half a million teu for the first time next year. Teo said the vessel additions would cement PIL as a “B-division” player, up from its erstwhile “C-division” status.

“We will be comfortable to operate at this size and there are only a handful of companies like this,” Teo told the Straits Times, adding: “At the moment, we don’t have any ambition to go into the next phase as we’re still a private company and capital is limited. We may in future, but I think we still have to be quite cautious for now.”

Teo said PIL is looking at adopting a range of digital technologies – from data analytics to blockchain to Internet of Things – to beef up its operations.

PIL was founded by Teo’s father in 1967, starting off with four coastal vessels. Today it is one of the largest shipping lines in Southeast Asia and the Teo family has plenty of other interests too, not least Singamas, one of the world’s largest container manufacturers.

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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