Singapore: The company that is more creative in developing value added services for its clients is more likely to find itself at the top of the picking list, argues Alex Van Zuijlen, a director at Singapore-listed marine supplier Sinwa.
Sinwa’s core business is ship supply but it is already consolidating services for its clients, Van Zuijlen says. For example ship’s agency where it performs tasks such as immigration and customs clearance, crew change and other port call related services. In addition it offers clients full logistics and freight forwarding services, import and export facilities and ship spares stock control.
Sinwa is expanding its geographic reach, opening two offices in Thailand recently to go alongside its existing network in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and China. More Asian countries are being targeted, Van Zuijlen says.
Sinwa has an especially strong network in China, so Van Zuijlen has a front seat on the debate about the slowdown in the economy of the world’s most populous nation.
“Although I believe the market will revive and repair itself, and the shipping industry will overcome the challenges that are placed in front of it right now, I do also expect there will be a slowdown for some time to come,” he says, adding: “I think trade in China will lose some of its momentum and the marine logistics segment in China will slow down with it.”
For owners it has become much more difficult to get financing for newbuildings but it’s now equally more difficult for the Chinese shipyards to get financing as well, Van Zuijlen observes.
“The newbuilding segment is cooling down,” he says, “and if you look at the market right now you see that the government in China is implementing all kinds of protective measures and subsidies for local shipyards, and in particular the government-owned yards, in order to assure their survival and competitiveness over the coming years.”