Singapore attracts several Danish companies

Approximately every second month a new Danish company opens an office in Singapore, usually within the maritime or offshore industries. The companies are attracted by the growth and shipping environment.

Photo: Hapag-Lloyd

Nearly 1,500 Danes already live in Singapore which is the base for almost 130 companies of Danish origins, especially within the maritime world. Considering the recent interest, the flow of Danish companies opening an office in the fast-growing Asian island state is far from over.

In the last couple of months, companies such as Stena Weco, Combi Lift and Dynamic Oil Trading have announced plans to open an office or actually opened an office as part of the Danish cluster in Singapore, which features every major Danish shipping company such as Maersk, Norden, Torm, Clipper, the large Danish bunker companies and the offshore companies such as Maersk Drilling and the J. Lauritzen joint venture, Axis Offshore. Other companies have relocated within Asia in order to have their headquarters in just the right place. This is the case with APM Terminals moving its Asian Head Quarters from Shanghai to Singapore.

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And the list goes on. Singapore is difficult to beat and the Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore is often contacted by Danish companies looking to set up an office on the island. The embassy is contacted by 3-4 companies each year, but estimates that further 3-4 companies do not make contact to the embassy before opening an office, the embassy’s maritime consultant, Anthony Leong, informs ShippingWatch.

“Last week alone, during the OSEA offshore exhibition, three of the participating 13 Danish companies made contact to the embassy as they were interested in establishing a branch in Singapore”, Anthony Leong explains.

All the others

What is attractive about Singapore is e.g. the low tax level, the political system which is extremely focused on providing a good service towards new maritime companies and not least what may be called the “all-the-others” effect: that as a company in Singapore, you are almost certain that you will run into one or more clients, competitors or suppliers on the 700 square kilometres that are Singapore.

“All our clients are here. All the major long haul carriers are represented in Singapore”, the CEO of the regional Maersk Line feeder carrier, MCC, Tim Wickmann, tells ShippingWatch.

The concentration within offshore is just as big. Axis Offshore is located in close vicinity of its two biggest competitors, ProSafe and Flotel. Actually, both these companies are building accommodation vessels for the offshore industry at two of Singapore’s offshore yards, Axis itself has also decided to build as much as three new accommodation platforms.

On the large yard Keppel, the optimism is considerable as the yard expects to deliver as much as 20 drilling rigs next year, the highest number in the history of the yard.

Record level order books

Singapore’s Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S. Iswaran, could not conceal his joy at a recent press conference. The confidence in the country’s abilities and the continued growth in especially Asia is big enough for the government to believe that the offshore and maritime industries of Singapore will resist the global financial slowdown. The turnover in the industries reached USD 13.3 billion in 2011, almost as much as the 2010 turnover of USD 13.5 billion. And according to Rigzone, the order books are still at a record high level of USD 16 billion with deliveries into 2015. Therefore, it came as no surprise that the Danish Government chose Singapore as the role model for the Danish maritime industry and that the former Danish Minister for Business and Growth, Ole Sohn, signed a cooperation agreement with Singapore in August to try to have Denmark be inspired by the innovation and growth characterising Singapore. Even though the agreement is still new, the first initiatives are beginning to surface. For instance, plans of a possible cooperation between Copenhagen Business School and Singapore Management University have been drawn up.

This week, ShippingWatch will be focusing on Singapore, the second Danish maritime centre; on those looking to open in Singapore, on those struggling to get in and on those saying that there is a limit for growth in Singapore.

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