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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
April 28, 2006
PSA voted world's best port operator

By Chua Kong Ho

PSA International has retained its crown as the world's best container terminal operator, while its flagship Singapore terminals were voted the best in Asia for the 17th time by customers and industry professionals at a trade awards ceremony yesterday.

Also, Singapore clinched the Best Seaport For Asia award for the 18th time.

PSA's two accolades reinforce its position as one of the world's leading port operators and PSA Singapore Terminals' standing as the world's largest container transhipment hub, said PSA in a media statement.

PSA International was named 'Best Global Container Terminal Operating Company', while PSA Singapore Terminals won 'Best Container Terminal Asia' for terminals handling over four million standard containers a year, at The Asian Freight and Supply Chain Awards, which is organised by Hong Kong-based trade journal Cargonews Asia.

Said Mr Eddie Teh, PSA International group chief executive: 'PSA is honoured and pleased to receive this accolade again this year...PSA's management and staff remained committed to delivering productivity and service standards demanded by our industry.'

Ms Grace Fu, chief executive of South-east Asia & Japan, PSA International, said: 'PSA Singapore Terminals is honoured by the shipping community's endorsement of our managers and staff who worked very closely with our unions to deliver consistent high-quality service, 24 hours a day, every day to our valued customers.'

PSA Singapore Terminals is the world's largest container transhipment hub. It has a network of 200 shipping lines with connections to 600 ports in 123 countries.

Last year, PSA handled 41.2 million standard containers worldwide. Its flagship Singapore terminals handled 22.3 million containers.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
 

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May 9, 2006
PSA in possible $914m bid for Australia's No.1 port operator
S'pore group keeps mum; Toll takes court action to halt possible rival offer

By Chua Kong Ho

SINGAPORE port operator PSA International is reportedly considering a A$750 million (S$914 million) proposed deal to buy a half stake in Australia's largest ports business, run by transport giant Patrick Corp.

But the possible deal is caught up in a major multi-billion takeover battle Down Under for Patrick, which operates other big transport businesses such as trucking.

Australia's Macquarie Bank is assembling a consortium to buy Patrick, according to the Australian Financial Review. It would then sell half the ports business to PSA, which declined to comment.

But another firm, transport giant Toll Holdings, which has already lodged an A$5.8 billion (S$7.1 billion) bid for Patrick, has taken court action to try to stymie the new bid. Macquarie's all cash offer would top that figure, media reports have said.

If it goes through, the Patrick deal would give PSA a valuable foothold in Australia's ports and plug a gaping hole in its global network.

It would also be third time lucky for PSA in its quest to buy Australian ports.

The Temasek-owned ports operator was pipped twice in separate deals by rival Dubai Ports World in buying CSX World Terminals and Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation, both of which owned terminals in Australia.

Analysts note that buying a half share in Patrick's port assets would sit well with PSA's strategy to acquire strategic stakes in port operators whose assets do not overlap with its existing network, as the number of outright takeover targets diminishes.

PSA recently bought a 20 per cent stake in Hong Kong-based rival Hutchison Whampoa's ports business business for US$4.4 billion (S$6.9 billion), with the first rights to buy should Hutchison decide to sell in the future, according to Hong Kong media reports.

The Hutchison deal gave PSA increased exposure to fast-booming China and other important gateways in Europe and South America.

Neither PSA nor Hutchison Ports owns or operates container terminals in Australia.

PSA declined comment on the proposed deal when contacted by The Straits Times.

Patrick owns container terminals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle, as well as port-related transport, warehouses, freight forwarding and customs services, container repair, storage and handling, as well inland freight hubs that are linked to its ports, mostly by rail.

Revenue from its ports division rose 6 per cent to A$908.2 million last year, while pre-tax profits rose 10 per cent to A$140.3 million, its latest annual report said.

Attractive as it is, the deal is unlikely to pass without fire and brimstone.

Already, Toll, which has a takeover offer due to close this Friday, has filed a lawsuit against Patrick and its chairman and managing director in a bid to thwart any Macquarie bid. Toll has accused Patrick and its chairman and managing director of breaching an agreement by soliciting the Macquarie bid.

Patrick and its directors denied the accusations, according to its filings with the Australian Stock Exchange.

Toll, which bought SembCorp Logistics (SembLog) in March, has plans to merge Patrick and SembLog to create a pan-Asian logistics giant.

Toll managing director PaulLittle called the potential Macquarie offer a 'con job' full of 'smoke and mirrors' and vowed to block the bid, reported the local media.

Macquarie said in an exchange filing that Toll's comments about its potential bid contained 'a number of material misstatements and errors' without saying what they were. But it said the proposal it wanted to put to Patrick would better Toll's bid.

Macquarie, however, has not received final commitments from investors, so there is no certainty that any such offer will proceed, it said.

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Attempt to derail bid

TOLL, which has made an A$5.8 billion (S$7.1 billion) bid for Patrick, has filed a lawsuit against Patrick and its chairman and managing director in an attempt to thwart any possible bid by Macquarie Bank.

Toll has accused Patrick and its chairman and managing director of breaching an agreement by soliciting the Macquarie bid.

Macquarie is reportedly assembling a consortium to buy Patrick with an all-cash offer that would top Toll's bid. It would then sell half the ports business to PSA.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
 

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Business Times - 11 May 2006

Dubai port operator allays S'pore fears

It is not going after anyone's turf but is creating an additional market, says CEO

By DONALD URQUHART

(SINGAPORE) Singapore should not be worried about Dubai's rapid rise on the world maritime scene, says the chief executive of Dubai Ports World, which rocketed from obscure port authority to third-largest global container handler in as many years.

'We have taken the best practices of all the maritime hubs and Singapore is one of them - we don't deny it,' Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of Dubai's state-owned container terminal operator told BT in an interview at Dubai's Jebel Ali Port.

The desert-ringed but historically sea-trading nation has made worldwide waves in recent years with its bold forays into key sectors of the modern maritime business.

This includes ship-repair, container terminal operations where it now ranks third behind Hutchison Port Holdings and PSA International, the shipping agency business and - next on the drawing board - an international ship registry. All of which is giving those charged with making Singapore an international maritime centre a distinct case of the jitters.

'We have taken the best practices of wherever we see it fits us in this environment, but we are not going after anyone's market,' Mr Sharaf emphasised.

'We are trying to create an additional market, create more opportunities for the people that work for us, for the industry that we are in and the regions that we work in.'

Pointing to Singapore's market of 'a billion-and-a-half people', he said: 'We don't have the reach from here to that market, but we have another market - India - which is another billion-and-a-half people.'

Dubai is already the main hub for the rapidly growing Gulf economies.

But in the race for global container terminals, industry executives say a competitive clash between expansion-minded Dubai Ports World (DPW) and Singapore's PSA International was inevitable.

Less predictable was Dubai's tenaciousness, which has seen it emerge victorious in every contest.

'There is no doubt we are competitors,' the affable Mr Sharaf said. 'But we respect each other as competitors.'

The two players are clearly like-minded in their expansionist view of the global industry.

'They have a strategy that seems to meet with ours. It's just unfortunate that we have to face them and they have to face us each time we go to an acquisition. But by facing each other we are telling each other we are both on the right track,' according to Mr Sharaf.

In the most recent contest for the empire of the UK's Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co, many in Singapore's maritime community opined that DPW appeared to be playing only to win.

The brief but high-stakes bidding war saw PSA top DPW's original offer of 3.3 billion (S$9.6 billion) with a counter-bid of 3.7 billion, only to be bested by DPW in just over 12 hours with a new bid of 3.9 billion.

Asked if he ever had any doubt that DPW would take home the prize, Mr Sharaf said: 'No. If we had that in our minds we would not win it - it's as simple as that.

'When we sit down on as a team to brief ourselves on a project we say we have only one choice - that is to win. There is no other choice. And touch wood, we've been successful so far.'

The one catch, of course, was the political firestorm that engulfed DPW's acquisition of P&O's six US terminals over security concerns by American politicians, ultimately forcing the Dubai operator to shed those assets. Incorrect perceptions and lack of information about Dubai and DPW are to blame, according to Mr Sharaf, who hastened to add that the group has come to terms with it.

'It's all political at the end of the day. If you look at Dubai, at what Dubai is about and what it has accomplished, its just all misperception that was communicated to the American people,' he said.

'It has to calm down and we have to do a better job at communicating to the American people. At the right time when the legislation has changed, when they open up, we'll be there. It's the world's largest economy, you can't just ignore it.'

DPW is now in the process of readying to sell the US assets, which is expected to be completed within six months and could fetch as much as US$700 million.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
15 May 2006

PSA's container volume up 31% in first four months of 2006
By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Container throughput moved by PSA rose 31 percent in the first four months of this year, compared to 2005.

Nearly 16 million boxes or TEUs passed through its network of ports in Singapore and around the world.

But the biggest increase of 68 percent came from its overseas operations which handled 8.4 million boxes.

The number of boxes handled by Singapore is up 4 percent to 7.4 million.

Jurong Port has, however, seen a 1.4 percent fall in the number of containers it moved.

The throughput it handled in the first four months of the year amounted to 287,000 TEUs. - CNA/ms

Copyright © 2006 MCN International Pte Ltd
 

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May 24, 2006
$10m fund to woo top cruise line operators
Grant will foot part of the promotion bill for operators selling fly-cruise packages

By Krist Boo

A NEW $10 million fund has been set up to help draw the world's biggest cruise line operators here, as part of efforts to turn Singapore into Asia's top cruise destination.

The purse, the first grant for the cruise industry here, will see the Government foot part of the promotion bill for operators selling fly-cruise packages that begin or end their journeys in Singapore.

Pooled by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC), the money will be disbursed by STB over the next three years.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry Vivian Balakrishnan, who announced the Fly-Cruise Development Fund aboard Italian Costa Cruises' luxury ship Costa Allegra yesterday, said the fund will help Singapore take advantage of an expected boom in the Asia-Pacific cruise business in the coming years.

The number of cruise passengers in the region is likely to surge dramatically, from 1.07 million last year to 1.5 million by 2010.

Costa Cruises, which belongs to the world's largest cruise company, Carnival Corporation, is the first cruise line to tap into the fund, which it will spend on marketing seminars for travel agents.

From December, the company will start five new tours out of Singapore.

STB's director in charge of cruise clusters development, Mr Chang Chee Pey, said Singapore is hoping to attract an annual 1.5 million cruise passengers by 2015.

To reach that figure, the is land hopes to have 10 cruise ships anchor here. At the moment, there are only two: Star Cruises' Gemini and Virgo.

The grants will be handed out on a project-by-project basis and could be used for activities such as contests, joint advertising and travel agent updates. There is no cap to the amount of the grant.

'We have already been talking to all the major cruise companies around the world - the likes of Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Silversea and Star Cruises,' he said. 'We will be customising our support to what they plan to do.'

SCC president Cheong Teow Cheng called it 'significant' that the money has pulled in the world's top cruise line group to Singapore. 'It will make a difference. It will heighten the awareness of cruises and drive up the interest.'

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Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
 

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Business Times - 25 May 2006

S'pore marine industry makes a big splash

2005 turnover surges record 40% to $7.4b on offshore boom

By GEORGE JOSEPH

SINGAPORE'S marine industry turned in a stellar performance last year with a record-breaking 40 per cent increase in turnover to $7.4 billion, driven largely by the oil and gas exploration boom which swelled order books in the offshore sector.

The booming industry also employed more people, creating 10,800 more jobs, a 22.3 per cent increase to 48,516 compared with 37,716 workers employed in 2004.

And the local rig-building sector's special ability to offer proprietary designed rigs and innovative engineering solutions will prove to be winning strategies for the industry this year and beyond, according to Michael Chia, president of the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (Asmi).

Giving a full-year report and industry outlook at the association's 38th annual general meeting yesterday, Mr Chia said that overall, all sectors in the marine and offshore industry are expected to be strong this year, which looks set to be another healthy year for the industry.

'With an outstanding order book at an all-time high, the marine industry is on course to continue its good performance over the next few years.'

He said strong growth would continue to come from the offshore sector. 'Given the robust offshore oil and gas market, and the high utilisation and high charter rates of jack-up rigs, the rig market as supply of offshore equipment, services and rigs, is not in tandem with the surge in oil exploration and production activities worldwide.

'This is evident from the continuous stream of orders for new jack-ups and semis (semi-submersible rigs) placed with the local shipyards in the first few months of this year. During the first four months of 2006, the industry has already secured a record $5.8 billion worth of contracts with expected completion and deliveries through 2010.

The bumper year in 2005 generated $2.13 billion more than the 2004 turnover of $5.3 billion. The offshore sector led the strong showing as it clinched all the major new rig building projects in the world, affirming Singapore's leadership position in the global offshore rig building market, he said.

The shiprepair and conversion and shipbuilding sectors also grew and contributed to the overall increase in total turnover.

Output from the offshore sector grew by a hefty 82 per cent to $2.38 billion in 2005.

This is a new record for the offshore sector, and formed 32 per cent of the industry's total turnover. This is 7.4 per cent more than in 2004.

The shiprepair and conversion sector, which accounted for 51 per cent of the industry's total turnover, however, saw its contribution falling 8 per cent. But despite fewer ship calls for repairs, revenue from the ship repair and conversion sector amounted to $3.79 billion in 2005. This was almost 22 per cent more than the year before.

The shipbuilding sector also registered a significant increase in output with more projects secured and completed in 2005.

The increased oil and gas development activities globally resulted in a growing demand for offshore supply and support vessels, a niche market for the local shipyards.

Shipbuilding revenue grew by 42 per cent year-on-year to reach $1.26 billion in 2005, and accounted for 17 per cent of the industry's turnover.

The robust industry had its share of misfortunes with the number of accidents climbing by 15 per cent to 456 incidents. This is despite a lower Accident Frequency Rate and Accident Severity Rate. Mr Chia attributed the increasing accidents to the higher volume of activities carried out in shipyards during the year.

Making his forecast for the current year, the Asmi president was confident that all sectors in the marine and offshore industry will grow strongly.

The offshore sector will continue to be the dominant contributor. He said: 'The market for FPSO (floating, production, storage and offloading) conversions and the building of offshore support vessels, two niche areas for the industry, will also remain strong in response to the oil and gas exploration boom.

'During the last few years, the local shipyards have been building up its competencies and increasing its share in the more specialised and sophisticated ship repair market segment of LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers.

'Although the marine industry has remained robust and stayed ahead of the increasingly strong competition from China, Middle East and the neighbouring countries, it must continue to focus on its core competencies and leverage on its competitive advantages in the specialised market segment and track records, to provide cost-effective solutions to customers. He urged the industry to ensure that projects continue to be executed safely, within budget and on schedule.

'To maintain its pole position, the industry must continue to innovate and offer its own new and improved designs, and engineering solutions to meet customers' specific requirements and for new operating environments,' he added.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
June 14, 2006
PSA global container volume up 31.3% this year

By Narendra Aggarwal

SINGAPORE port operator PSA International's business continues to grow as global container traffic shot up nearly one-third - 31.3 per cent - in the first five months of this year, thanks to growing global trade volumes.

The world's No.2 container port operator said yesterday that it handled a record 20.17 million 20-foot standard containers in the January to May period.

Last year, it handled 15.36 million boxes in the same period.

The bulk of the increase comes from PSA's overseas operations, aided by its acquisition of terminals in long-time rival Hong Kong.

In fact, container volumes handled by PSA overseas now exceed the boxes that it handles at its home base in Singapore.

Its overseas container traffic surged 69.2 per cent in the first five months of the year to hit 10.73 million containers, up from 6.34 million boxes previously.

In Singapore, it handled 9.43 million containers, up a modest 4.5 per cent from previously.

PSA's overseas business data has been boosted since it started including volumes from its newly acquired Hong Kong terminals.

Last August, it bought stakes in two terminals from NWS Holdings for HK$3 billion (S$621 million) and later spent about US$1 billion (S$1.6 billion) on a second set of port assets in Hong Kong from Hutchison Whampoa.

PSA is expanding by adding new berths and investing in ports overseas. It has invested in ports in Belgium, Brunei, China, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea and Thailand.

Copyright © 2006 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
 

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04 July 2006

PSA takes measures to boost global supply chain security
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

Most governments have boosted security measures at key installations like airports after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US.

But one new area that has been getting more attention recently is the security of the entire global supply chain.

Concerns have been raised that as products move from one country to another, global commerce would be disrupted if there is a terror attack.

What has PSA Corporation, one of the biggest local players in the supply chain, been doing to boost security?

PSA says that it has increased the number of tracking cameras throughout its port by at least 50 percent post-911.

When trucks go into the port, these cameras will track their movements, watched by officers in a control room.

Also, all truck drivers carry photo identification, and biometric features are expected to be added to their security passes by the end of the year.

Strict security measures also extend to temporary workers, who are also required to have photo identification.

Selected scanning of cargo is also being done.

As for other vehicles, physical inspections as well as checks of the undercarriages are also carried out.

The whole idea is to make sure PSA knows who is really going in and who is really going out.

PSA says it concentrates on five aspects when boosting security - using cutting-edge technology, training its people, collaborating with industry and other government agencies and striking a balance between security needs and efficiency requirements.

But wouldn't all these mean higher costs eventually?

For the moment, PSA says, it has been able to manage.

Tan Puay Hin, Chief Operating Officer of PSA Singapore Terminals, said: "So far, we have not passed the costs to our customers yet. Many other ports have already applied what we call 'security charge' in Europe and some countries in Asia. We are working very hard to see how we can keep this under control."

PSA Corporation will be taking part in the APEC symposium on global supply chain security later this week. - CNA/ir

Copyright © 2006 MCN International Pte Ltd
 

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13 July 2006

PSA moved 28.6% more containers in first half of year, overseas volumes rose 61.9%

SINGAPORE: Port operator PSA is continuing to report robust business, thanks to booming cross-border trade.

In numbers out on Thursday, PSA says it moved 28.6 percent more twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs of containers in the first half of the year, compared to the same period a year ago.

For the six months to June, the world's second largest port operator moved 24.4 million TEUs.

It saw strong jump in volumes at its overseas ports - jumping 61.9 percent to 13.02 million units.

In Singapore, it moved 11.39 million TEUs - up 4.2 percent. - CNA /dt

Copyright © 2006 MCN International Pte Ltd
 

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Business Times - 21 Jul 2006

PSA bids for Panama Canal project: report

It's one of five big players bidding for US$900m build and operate job

By DONALD URQUHART

(SINGAPORE) PSA International is among five major container terminal operators who have submitted preliminary bids to build and operate a US$900 million container terminal project at the western entrance to the Panama Canal, according to Panamanian officials.

PSA along with Denmark's AP Moller-Maersk, US-based Maritime Terminal Corporation, Hutchinson Port Holdings and Cosco Pacific Ltd have each presented bid documentation, the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA) announced, according to AFP.

A PSA International spokesman declined to comment on the report when approached by BT yesterday. Construction of the planned megaport - to be located next to the west coast Panama Canal entrance in the Palo Seco/Farfan area near the former US air base at Howard - is scheduled to begin next year.

When the first phase is completed, the port will have 1.6km of berths with 18 post-Panamax cranes and 15-metre water depth, and an annual capacity of 2.4 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).

A Panamanian trade delegation visiting Singapore in March said they were hopeful of PSA's participation in the project, with the country's Vice-President Ruben Arosemena saying PSA officials had visited 'a couple of times'. Mr Arosemena is also administrator of the PMA.

One of the advantages for PSA, he noted, was that, like Singapore, Panama is 90 per cent transhipment cargo. 'We came here, we saw their offices, which are state-of-the-art and we are very impressed, and wish we could in the near future have the same capacity of moving cargo,' he said at the time.

Last November, the maritime authority and Panamanian government officials met with 12 international port operators to brief them on the project. The operators included PSA International, Dubai Ports World, Hutchison Port Holdings, P&O Ports, AP Moller Terminals, China Ocean Shipping Co, Evergreen Marine Corp, Stevedoring Services of America, and NYK Line.

Panama currently has four main container terminals including one on the Pacific coast at the Port of Balboa - Port Terminal SA, operated by Hutchison Port Holdings. The remaining three are located on the Atlantic coast - Manzanillo International Terminal, operated by Stevedoring Services of America; Colon Container Terminal, operated by Evergreen Marine Corp; and Colon Port Terminal, operated by Hutchison Port Holdings.

A feasibility study by a Japanese international development agency recommended fully developing and modernising the Port of Balboa, followed by the development of a second major container port at Farfan. The 253-hectare site is located next to the former Howard airbase, now used as an airport, which is being developed into a multimodal transport and manufacturing hub.

The 77km canal handles 13,000 ships a year, 5 per cent of the global maritime market.

Separately, Panama is set to hold an Oct 22 public referendum on a US$5.25 billion plan to enlarge the canal to accommodate new, super-large container ships.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
 

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Aug 5, 2006
Singapore stands to gain as regional import hub for LNG

By For The Straits Times, Andrew Symon

THE Singapore Government has long been concerned about reducing the vulnerability of the small island city-state to the currents and forces surrounding it.

Energy is no exception - and this will be the focus on Monday when the Government is expected to announce its decision at an Energy Market Authority of Singapore forum on the feasibility of importing shipped liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Singapore, now dependent on piped natural gas from Malaysia and Indonesia's south Sumatra and Natuna fields in the South China Sea to fuel more than 60 per cent of power generation, would dearly love to have this option.

At present, its only alternative to gas is increasingly high-priced oil. If Singapore went ahead with LNG import, it would be the first country to do so in South-east Asia. LNG could be landed some time after 2010 as it would take between now and then to negotiate supply and build receiving facilities.

But can the Government make the economics of importing LNG work? In the long term, LNG import could be of great strategic benefit to Singapore. But in the short term, the economics does seem problematic.

Two years ago, an imperative to move forward the possibility of LNG supply was given when the Natuna gas supply failed. There was a technical malfunction at the Jurong receiving point which resulted in a serious power blackout.

In the wake of this, the Government commissioned a Japanese utility, Tokyo Gas, one of the world's largest LNG importers, to study its feasibility.

Shipping in LNG, and then regasifying it for power generation and other uses, would geographically diversify and thereby strengthen Singapore's energy supply chain.

Likely supply sources would be north-western Australia and the Middle East gulf, which have the largest uncommitted gas reserves available for LNG supply expansion. Australia, boasting stable supply conditions, may seem a good choice given the political clouds that inevitably hang over the Middle East.

In contrast, regional LNG producers Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei have difficulties expanding beyond existing output in terms of available reserves. In the case of Indonesia, there is a little more forward new capacity ahead as a result of BP's Tangguh development in Papua, but elsewhere local gas is increasingly being mortgaged by domestic demand.

Indeed, this growing domestic demand could prevent further supply to Singapore from south Sumatra when existing contracts expire, strengthening the case of LNG for Singapore.

But LNG is not a cheap fuel either, as there are the additional costs of liquefaction at the supply end and regasification on the demand side, which pipeline gas does not face.

Nevertheless, LNG could be competitive against existing piped gas supply as Singapore already does pay very high prices for this gas - in fact the highest piped gas prices in South-east Asia, reflecting in large part their heavy indexation against oil price movements. (In Malaysia and Indonesia, domestic gas supply is much cheaper as there are government-regulated price caps and subsidies.)

LNG prices for the Asia-Pacific are also rising with demand growth with the emergence of markets in China, India and the US West Coast as well as from the established markets in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Fast-growing European and US East Coast demand also has an impact on LNG trade east of Suez. Demand projections for LNG into the next decade are very high and one wonders where all the new LNG will come from. Singapore may not be in a buyer's market.

LNG prices are usually indexed to oil although this weighting can vary. Singapore may be able to negotiate a deal in its favour in this regard, making LNG more competitive against piped gas. Certainly, as oil prices rise, LNG does become more competitive against Singapore's more heavily indexed piped natural gas supply.

LNG also means the additional capital and operating cost of ship receival and regasification terminals whereas these are not necessary where pipeline gas is concerned. A conventional onshore regasification terminal would cost Singapore of the order of US$500 million (S$800 million). There is also the issue of where to site the terminal. Jurong Island would be a candidate. Alternatively, there could be some savings and flexibilities gained through use of new technologies for receival and regasification in the form of offshore floating facilities or self-unloading vessels bringing LNG to Singapore. But these are hardly, if at all, tested commercially anywhere in the world.

Safety may be another issue. In the US West Coast there is tremendous community opposition to regasification facilities in and near cities for fear of accidents and terrorism. But LNG has an almost unblemished record worldwide in its 40-year history.

Perhaps the key challenge is negotiating a suitable volume of imports that the Singapore market would be able to reasonably absorb, that is, matching new supply with demand. Singapore is already locked into a large volume of piped natural gas on long-term contracts. These will not expire until after 2020.

The problem of importing LNG before this time is the difficulty of contracting small volumes. Unlike the situation for oil, it is not possible to buy the odd cargo of LNG here and there unless there is already a base contract.

Singapore would have to commit to long-term contract supply. A traditional Asia contract is for one to three million tonnes of LNG a year. And three million tonnes of LNG a year is equal to about 45 per cent of Singapore's present pipeline gas supply.

Yet Singapore may be able to avoid committing early to large volume imports by taking up a contract in coalition with major importers in Japan and South Korea. This could mean commitment to smaller volumes and the possibility of ratcheting up supply as market conditions allow.

But there would still be the obstacle of the economics of the regasification terminal, if it were being used too far below capacity. It is unlikely a small-capacity terminal would make sense.

But looking far enough into the future, there is one scenario that, if it were to come to pass, could provide the solution. And that would be if Singapore were to become a supply and trading point for gas delivery to neighbouring countries.

Through the emerging and growing pipeline networks within and between Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, some of Singapore's imported gas could be sold to buyers in other countries. Singapore could one day play a role analogous to Zeebrugge in Belgium today. There, LNG is regasified and sold to buyers in second and third countries in western Europe, complementing pipeline supply from the North Sea, Russia and North Africa. A similar role is emerging for some other LNG import points in Europe.

For such multi-country system integration to develop in South-east Asia, however, an enormous degree of policy agreement and legal and regulatory harmony would be required. Essentially, there would have to be a common commitment to gas market liberalisation. Singapore currently is the only country with substantial liberalisation.

Still, the scenario is not too far-fetched. Increasing, energy demand in the region should drive greater gas and indeed electricity market integration. A decision by Singapore then to be an import hub for LNG could thus be of long-term strategic benefit to the island and the region.

The writer is the Singapore-based Asia manager for British-based consultants Menas Associates.

PRICE FACTOR

LNG could be competitive against existing piped gas supply as Singapore already does pay very high prices for this gas - in fact the highest piped gas prices in South-east Asia, reflecting in large part their heavy indexation against oil price movements.

Copyright © 2006 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
 

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Business Times - 15 Aug 2006

PSA container traffic up 4.75% in Jan-July period

SINGAPORE - PSA International said its flagship Singapore terminals moved 4.75 per cent more containers in the first seven months of 2006 than a year earlier.

The firm, which operates ports in Singapore and abroad, said in a statement it handled 13.45 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a standard industry measure, in the period, compared with 12.84 million TEUs in the same period last year.

PSA also runs ports in Belgium, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea and Thailand but said that with effect from July, it is no longer providing throughput figures for its foreign business. -- REUTERS

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Norway insurer Skuld to set up shop in S'pore

18 Aug 06

Leading maritime liability insurer says its membership here is growing


(SINGAPORE) Reflecting Singapore's growing importance in the maritime world, major Norwegian maritime liability insurer, Skuld has announced it will open a representative office here in late September.


Skuld is a leading marine insurer providing protection and indemnity (P&I) cover to shipowners and charterers around the globe and its new office here will join those already established in Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Moscow and Piraeus.

P&I insurance covers maritime liabilities incurred by its members in connection with the operation of a vessel.

The Oslo-based insurer said it has a growing membership in Singapore and in keeping with its tradition of being close to its members it is moving to establish a representative office here.

Nearly 40 per cent of the shipping tonnage it insures is Scandinavian-controlled with the remainder spread across other major markets including Western Europe, Greece, Russia, the US, and Asia.

'One third of Skuld's members are from the Far East,' said Skuld's new Singapore head, Christopher Hall. 'Seeing the considerable increase in the Singapore shipping sector in recent years, Skuld aims to be part of this growth,' he added.

Congratulating Skuld on their decision to open a representative office in Singapore, MPA chief Tay Lim Heng said: 'Its presence will enhance the maritime insurance scene here and contribute significantly towards Singapore's development as an international maritime centre.

'It also reaffirms Singapore's location as a strategic centre for maritime business,' he added.

Skuld's association with Singapore began deepening last September when it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA), endorsing Singapore as its preferred dispute resolution centre.

At the time the Norwegian club said it was 'disillusioned' with what it said is the high cost of arbitration in London and it wanted to send the traditional maritime centre a 'wake-up call' by endorsing Singapore as an alternative. It said Singapore was 30-50 per cent cheaper than London for maritime dispute resolution.

In Singapore, Skuld joins two other prominent P&I clubs who have established a formal presence here: Standard Asia, a subsidiary of the Standard Steamship Owners' Protection & Indemnity Association (Standard Club) and the United Kingdom Mutual Steam Ship Assurance Association (UK P&I Club) which has a branch office here.

Other P&I clubs are also represented in Singapore, but typically through an agent, or correspondent.

As a mutual association Skuld, established in 1897, is owned and controlled directly by its members.

It is also one of the 13 members comprising the International Group of P&I Associations that work closely in reinsurance and industry matters and together insure nearly 90 per cent of the world's merchant fleet.

One of the main roles of the group is to coordinate the operation and regulation of the clubs' claim-sharing agreement in which all qualifying claims in excess of US$6 million are shared between the clubs.

By DONALD URQUHART
 

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Business Times - 13 Sep 2006

PSA container traffic up 5.8% in Jan-Aug

SINGAPORE -- State-owned Singapore port operator PSA International said its flagship Singapore terminals moved 5.8 per cent more containers in the first eight months of 2006 than a year earlier.

The firm, which operates ports in Singapore and abroad, said in a statement on its website, that it handled 15.66 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a standard industry measure, in the period, compared with 14.8 million TEUs in the same period last year.

PSA also runs ports in Belgium, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea and Thailand, but it stopped disclosing throughput figures for its foreign business with effect from July. -- REUTERS

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
 

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PSA begins building new berths at Pasir Panjang Terminal

17 Oct 06

The 3 new berths are part of PSA's plan to add 15 new berths by 2011

(SINGAPORE) PSA Corporation began work on three new container berths at its Pasir Panjang Terminal (PPT) last week, as Singapore's largest container handler continued to forge ahead with its accelerated expansion in order to keep up with surging global container demand.



Construction on the three berths and associated stacking yards under PPT's second phase of expansion started last Wednesday and will continue until April 11, 2007.

PSA's Singapore terminals - Brani, Keppel, Tanjong Pagar and PPT - currently have a total of 43 container berths with an overall capacity of 24 million TEUs (20-foot containers). The three new berths are part of PSA's plan to add a total of 15 new berths by 2011, which would take PSA's total throughput capacity in Singapore up to 31 million TEUs.

Currently, six of the 15 berths are operational, and once all 15 are completed the current PPT land area will be fully utilised, a PSA spokesperson told BT.

The government has been exploring the possibility of freeing up the land bank to allow further expansion of PSA's local terminals and is reviewing plans to add 16 more berths, which would increase its capacity to handle 50 million TEUs by 2018.

PSA shifted its Pasir Panjang development into high gear in 2004 after a 17 per cent surge in average daily volumes in the first three weeks of June that year - or about an extra 10,000 TEUs daily - brought unprecedented berthing delays to local terminals.

The surging volumes were a result of a steadily growing Asian export trade, in particular a flood of West-bound Asia-to-Europe cargoes out of North Asia and China which were exacerbated by the early arrival of the peak season.

For the first nine months of this year, PSA handled 6.4 per cent more containers than last year, taking the total up to 17.73 million TEUs compared with 16.66 million TEUs in the same period last year. Jurong Port handled 58,000 containers in September, 22 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier. For the first nine months of this year, Jurong handled 680,000 TEUs, 12 per cent fewer than the same period last year.

Overall, Singapore handled a total of 2.13 million containers in September, 9.7 per cent more from 1.94 million boxes a year earlier, according to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. In the first nine months, the Singapore port handled 18.33 million containers, 5.7 per cent more compared with 17.35 million from a year earlier.

Singapore surpassed Hong Kong as the world's busiest container port in 2005, the first time in seven years, as competition from Shenzhen and other Chinese ports slowed growth in Hong Kong. Container volumes handled by Hong Kong's terminals in September rose 4.1 per cent year on year to 2.17 million TEUs, according to the territory's Port Development Council. During the nine months to September, total container throughput at Hong Kong's terminals reached 17.71 million TEUs, up 5.9 per cent from a year earlier.

By DONALD URQUHART
 

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Business Times - 09 Nov 2006

PSA shortlisted to bid for Pakistan port's operation

The 40-year BOT lease at Gwadar Port includes a revenue-sharing mechanism

By DONALD URQUHART

(SINGAPORE) PSA International is among four shortlisted terminal operators bidding for a 40-year concession to operate Pakistan's first deep-water port, including container and multi-purpose cargo handling, a report said.

The Gwadar Port Implementation Authority (GPIA) invited expressions of interest in mid-October, and only days later it approved four of the eight companies which submitted documents, according to the Khaleej Times newspaper's online edition.

Aside from PSA, the other operators shortlisted for bidding are Globe Marine Services of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan International Container Terminal (which operates a terminal at the Karachi port) and Malaysia's Westport. Hutchison Port Holdings, which operates a terminal at the Karachi port, was not among the list of pre-qualifiers.

The four pre-qualified operators have now been asked to submit their bids by Dec 4, with a decision expected by Dec 10.

The concession, which includes a revenue-sharing mechanism with the GPIA, will be awarded by end December, when the Gwadar Deep Sea Port is to be inaugurated following the completion of its Phase 1 development.

A PSA International spokesperson declined to comment when approached by BT yesterday. The tender was re-issued after an earlier one was withdrawn, which saw Dubai Ports World (DP World) dropping out of this most recent tender.

A top Pakistan government official was quoted by the Dubai-based Khaleej Times a few months ago as saying that DP World would be given the concession without an open tender as a 'trade-off' for future investment from the United Arab Emirates, already the largest foreign investor in the country.

The 40-year lease is on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis and will require the winning operator to set up three separate companies to run the different operations - port and terminal operations, marine services and free economic zone - of both the existing phase and the Phase 2 development. The first phase, completed with financial assistance from China, consisted of three multipurpose berths, a 4.5-km-long approach channel dredged to 11.5-12.5 m and other port infrastructure and handling equipment, enabling it to handle bulk carriers of up to 30,000 DWT and container vessels of up to 25,000 DWT, or about 1,200 TEU.

The second phase will see four container berths, one bulk cargo berth, one grain berth, one ro-ro and two oil tanker berths built, with completion slated for 2010.

The GPIA envisions the port becoming a major transhipment hub for the region, in part tapping the growth of emerging central Asian countries.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be US$1.6 billion.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
 

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Business Times - 13 Nov 2006

PSA container traffic up 6.9% for Jan-Oct

SINGAPORE - State-owned Singapore port operator PSA International said its Singapore terminals moved 6.9 per cent more containers in the first 10 months of 2006 than in the same period a year ago.

The firm, which operates ports in Singapore and abroad, said in a statement on its website, www.singaporepsa.com, that it handled 19.85 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a standard industry measure, in the period, compared with 18.57 million TEUs in the same period last year.

PSA also runs ports in Belgium, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea and Thailand, but it stopped disclosing throughput figures for its foreign business with effect from July. -- REUTERS

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Nov 23, 2006
All aboard! Full steam ahead for cruise market

By Lim Wei Chean

CRUISE ships have been picking up passengers from the Singapore Cruise Centre for 15 years now. And how the scene has changed.

On Nov 25, 1991, the first international cruise ship - the Royal Odyssey - dropped anchor here.

Two years later, the centre clinched its first homeport contract with Star Cruises' first ship, the Star Aquarius.

Today, 10 international cruise ships are based here. The Cunard Line's ultra-posh Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) and Queen Mary 2 come by about twice a year.

So far, more than 10 million passengers have passed through the gates of the cruise centre at HarbourFront.

But the past 15 years have been a mere 'test run' for what is to come, declares cruise centre president Cheong Teow Cheng.

'The last 15 years have been a case of wetting our toes, introducing people to what cruising is all about. But the time is now ripe for it to take off,' he enthused.

He is confident that in the international cruise scene, Asia is a pearl ready for harvesting.

Industry players concur, noting how the Singapore and regional cruise industries have expanded.

The luxury cruise market alone has expanded at least six-fold in recent years, said Mr Chung Kek Yoong, Singapore sales representative of the high-end Princess and Cunard lines.

Aside from those whose cruises start in Singapore, more than 6,000 people fly from here to far-flung Alaska, Istanbul or Panama for their dream cruise holidays each year, he said. And close to half of them choose the more expensive cabins.

Increasingly too, international cruise lines have been offering more Asian itineraries. Whereas Singapore might previously have been a stopover for four or five sailings a year, today these ships arrive eight or nine times a year.

Some cruise lines also place their ships in Asia exclusively for a period. Europe-based Oceania's Nautica, for instance, has Asian voyages from November to March.

Star Cruises is credited with almost single-handedly putting Asia's cruise industry on the map.

Part of Malaysia's Genting Group, it was incorporated in 1993, and its first ship, the Star Aquarius, operated out of Singapore for short trips.

Today, the company is the world's third largest cruise operator with five brands, including Norwegian Cruise Line and Orient Lines. Its turnover last year was US$2 billion (S$3.1 billion).

Mr Michael Loh, its vice-president of sales and marketing, sees the Asian market poised for more rapid growth, given fast-rising India and China.

In the past three years, his company has focused on going beyond the leisure market to tap the lucrative meetings, incentive, convention and exhibition (Mice) market in India and China.

Demand has been strong, and just last month, the SuperStar Virgo saw a 1,150-strong incentive group from China.

The Singapore Cruise Centre has had to keep up, as the number of passengers has soared from slightly over 100,000 in its first year to over a million at the peak in 1998 and 1999.

Passenger numbers declined with the economic downturn in 2000, the Sars outbreak in 2003 and in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004, but a recovery is well under way.

Last year, the cruise centre saw 623,740 passengers - a figure already surpassed in the first nine months of this year. Mr Cheong estimates that the final tally this year will exceed 850,000.

The people who choose cruises have also changed over the years, he said.

Singaporeans accounted for 70per cent of passengers in the 1990s, but the ratio has now been reversed to 65per cent foreigners - mainly Indians, Indonesians and Malaysians.

There are options aplenty to suit all budgets. The $300 two-night cruise-to-nowhere remains popular with those drawn by on-board casinos.

For $400 to $1,000, you can sail from three nights to a week, stopping at Phuket, Langkawi and Port Klang.

Typically, cruise ships come with restaurants, casinos, swimming pools, bars and lounges, theatres, gyms and shops. The best suites can be as large as 5,000sqft and can come with private sun decks and dining rooms, as well as a personal butler service.

For the big-splurge cruise holiday of a lifetime, there is the 108-day world cruise on the QE2, which will set you back US$248,605. It is the preserve of multi-millionaires and royalty.

For people like retired airlines reservations employee Tan Cheng Eng, 67, a grand holiday can be had for a lot less.

He took to cruises after retirement and goes on at least four or five such holidays each year with his wife and another retired couple, stopping at Hong Kong, Bangkok or Phuket. He forks out about $1,200 for each voyage of three to four nights and has been on all the Star Cruises ships at least twice.

'The best thing about a cruise holiday is that it is five-star travelling all the way. No need to worry about luggage or safety,' he said.

He says he has witnessed many more travellers from India and China in recent years. 'They come with their families and go for the nice cabins too,' he noted.

Retired accountant Florence Chin is a cruise addict. For her twice-a-year holidays, the 75-year-old heads off with family or friends for cruises in the Baltic Sea, Alaska or Europe, and has been on almost all the Princess cruise ships, as well as the QE2 and Queen Mary 2.

She spends at least $10,000 each time, but considers the price worthwhile for travelling in comfort and style.

'I get to meet people from all over the world and learn about different cultures. I become such good friends with them that we exchange greeting cards and letters long after the cruises are over,' said Mrs Chin, a grandmother of two.

To meet the growing sophistication of cruise holiday makers, the Singapore cruise terminal has undergone two renovations and now boasts nine shops, five food and beverage outlets, and the latest facilities for fast immigration clearance.

Mr Cheong predicts a boom for the Asian cruise industry. He said that 37 new cruise ships with capacity for over 4,000 passengers will be delivered to major cruise liners from 2007 to 2010.

Some of the smaller ships will be deployed to the Asian cruise market to prevent overcrowding in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Europe.

'We are gearing up to go full steam ahead,' Mr Cheong said.

[email protected]

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Business Times - 04 Dec 2006

NYK sets up training centre in Singapore

The $3m centre will train up to 400 ship's officers, engineers annually

By GEORGE JOSEPH

A LEADING Japanese ship management company has set up a training centre in Singapore that would initially train up to 400 ship's officers and engineers annually.

NYK Shipmanagement (NYKSM), the Singapore-based ship managing arm of Japan's biggest shipping line Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), officially opened its centre at Pandan Crescent last week, its biggest training centre.

The Japanese company invested US$3 million in setting up the centre which will train both current and future officers and engineers serving on board NYKSM-managed and manned vessels.

With state of the art simulators, the centre will conduct courses specific for the various types of vessels in the NYK fleet, including container ships, bulk, wood chip, car, reefer and energy carriers, and cruise ships.

The revving up of training of sea-going officers comes as NYK, like other major shipping lines, faces the need for more competent officers to man a rising number of vessels that are due to join the world fleet. NYK alone expects its fleet to grow from its current strength of 700 vessels to 930 by 2010. Apart from training at the Singapore centre, NYK sponsors the training of officers at maritime training institutions in China, Croatia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Romania and Russia.

'Custom-made training programmes in conjunction with education and training at national training academies around the world will help ensure that NYK maintains the most competent and efficient seafarer force in the world,' said Capt T Ishida, chairman and CEO of NYK Shipmanagement.

The Japanese company made a major strategic decision to move all its shipmanagement operations from Japan and Hong Kong to Singapore in 2001.

The NYK group is a 'mega' transportation company with fleets of planes, trains and trucks and warehouses in almost every part of the world. Its revenue in fiscal 2005 was US$16 billion and it employs 33,000 people worldwide.

NYK's efforts in setting up a training centre has been recognised by the Singapore government with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's excellence in training development award.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
6 Dec 2006
Royal Caribbean returns to Singapore

Royal Caribbean International has announced its return to Asia, bringing the active cruising experience to the region.

This is the latest tie up between Singapore Tourism Board and a cruise operator.

Nine new sailings from Singapore will be launched under this partnership; it will tap on the Singapore Fly-Cruise Development Fund.

The fund is administered in support of cruise companies' marketing activities.

STB says by boosting the local cruise industry through this fund, it hopes to catalyse growth for the entire Asian cruise industry.

Rhapsody of the Seas will debut December 2007, and will offer a series of sailings that will call on neighbouring countries.

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