‘The Singapore proposition is still there but we need to be on our toes’

An exclusive interview with Esben Poulsson, the president of the Singapore Shipping Association.

Esben Poulsson was elected earlier this year as the new chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The Danish national is also president of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA).

With his SSA hat on, Poulsson stresses there is no room for complacency. He admits the city-state might have hit ‘peak ownership’ with the number of shipowners likely plateauing this year.

“There are concrete examples of those who have relocated especially offshore, but there are still new companies coming,” he says. The Singapore dollar had been too strong, he relates. “When it weakened it gave us breathing space,” he recounts.

“All we can do at SSA,” he says, “is show we are focused with cooperation with the [Maritime & Port Authority], [Singapore Maritime Forum] in training the next generation and highlight incentives and giveaways,” Poulsson says.

“The Singapore proposition is still there,” he insists, “but we need to be on our toes because when you are number one there is only one place to go. Costs are a concern, but I still think we have a great cluster.”

This is an abridged article of an interview that first appeared in our fourth annual Singapore Market Report – a 28-page magazine that launched last week. Readers of Splash can access the full magazine for free online by clicking here.

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