Growing pains

Eng Hup Shipping Pte Ltd (EHS) is a Singaporean ship owner and port services company that began in 1957 as a pioneer in the country’s lighterage business, working out of the Telok Ayer Basin to deliver services across the east, west, and south of the country. By the late 1980s and 1990s its business had developed into marine services such as stevedoring. The growing scope of this market led the company to a programme of increasing its fleet in order to better support marine services. Beginning 2000, the company bought and built a range of tugs, patrol boats, training vessels, and ferries, drastically increasing its fleet size and bringing the total number of vessels at the time of writing to 63.

The range of services provided by EHS is wide but can be broadly divided into two categories. Marine services includes the company’s fleet of ocean-going steel tugs, harbour tugs, aluminium and fibreglass ferries, aluminium launches, survey boats, supply boats, naval training ships, high speed craft, and tankers that offer services to governmental and authoritative bodies in the country. Marine services also encompass mooring and ancillary works on refineries and power plants for clients such as Tuas Power, Singapore Petroleum, and Chevron Singapore. Port operations are carried out primarily for PSA Corporation, providing staff to the Pasir Panjang Terminal (Mega Port) to undertake various port functions. The company also carries out berthing/unberthing services at the Marine Bay Cruise Centre.

Director Justina Lim provides further details about EHS’ customers and how it supports them: “Our principal clients consist of key government agencies and statutory boards such as the Ministry of Defence, Immigration and Custom Departments, Police Coast Guard, Maritime and Port Authority, and PSA Corporation. The company provides invaluable services to these clients as it has ready access to the appropriate physical resources such as maritime logistics equipment, as well as the operational and managerial experience necessary to meet the operational demands of customers. Despite challenging requirements like 24/7 operations and ad-hoc activations, EHS has been able to deliver a high level of service standard, ensuring the smooth implementation and execution of support for mission critical tasks.”

Apart from standard marine and port services, EHS’ leading position in Singapore’s marine sector means many different parties approach it for specialist projects. A partnership was created with Singapore Technologies Education and Training Pte Ltd, for example, to design, build, and lease a training ship to the Republic of Singapore Navy. The vessel was intended for training officers in navigation and to familiarise them in regional waters. The pair created a design with advanced navigational systems and future-proofed it for new systems that might be introduced in the coming years. It was launched in May 2010 and is expected to serve for ten years.

In other developments, EHS acquired maintenance and repair yard Bee Sin Shipyard in early 2012. This purchase was a strategically important move because of two key reasons: first, because it meant the company is now able to offer its own maintenance and repair services and, second, because it provided EHS with a waterfront property, which is difficult to secure in Singapore. Direct results of the purchase include high cost savings and shorter downtime for the company’s vessels, enabling it to deliver higher quality services than ever before.

“The various services offered are a display of the company’s belief in best meeting the needs of the Singapore maritime market,” explains Justina. “With these various business units EHS obtains synergistic benefits as each provides valuable and transferable cross-segment knowledge. This enhances both the level of our employees’ technical skill sets and the management’s experience in effective utilisation of vessel assets. Though diverse in operations, all our business segments are fundamentally marine-based. With a strong team of employees equipped with both managerial business acumen and highly developed technical skills, EHS is able to seamlessly integrate and enhance the synergies amongst various business segments.”

The versatile expertise of EHS’ staff has been crucial to the company’s long-term success. The directors and senior management have all had extensive experience of the marine sector not only in Singapore but also in the wider Asia Pacific region, experience that they have been able to impart and spread throughout the organisation. A long term presence in the local sector has also enabled them to build close relationships with customers and suppliers, opening up new opportunities that many others would not have access to.

Going forwards, this strong client relationship will remain essential to EHS’ ethic as the company continues to expand its organisation and capabilities on the back of recent good business. “EHS has been performing exceedingly well over the past 18 months due to us being able to identify and leverage on new opportunities in this industry,” Justina states. “We have also continued to cement strong relationships with our existing clients in both the government and corporate sector. Shipping has been and will remain an evergreen market in the foreseeable future, as it is the most effective way to transport materials across the globe. This is even more applicable in Singapore, which aims to become an International Maritime Centre.”

She goes on to conclude that the possibilities for EHS’ future likely lay outside of Singapore itself: “In the pipeline for 2013 is the possible purchase of a larger shipyard in China. Aside from that EHS must also explore business outside Singapore, in nearby regions such as Johor, Malaysia. The state is eager to develop and become one of the biggest hubs for oil and gas as well as petrochemicals not just in Asia but the world. EHS is well positioned to capture the exciting opportunities ahead such as these.”

Eng Hup Shipping Pte Ltd
New maintenance yard
Large, diverse fleet
Wide ranging services