Sing Fuels was delighted to be presented with the ‘Asia Leading Brand’ and ‘Top 5 Maritime’ awards from Singapore Media Enterprise (SME) last month (find out more here).
To provide a better understanding of the company, Sing Fuels Management sat down with SME for a short interview as follows (you may also view the original article here):
Incorporated in 2012, Sing Fuels Pte Ltd started off as a two-man operation providing only bunker brokering services in their first year of operations. They have since grown into one of the most reputable names in maritime bunkering services with presence in 8 cities covering maritime operations from the South-China Sea in Asia, to the North Sea in Northern Europe and the Nordic states.
We have the honor of sitting down with the senior management team at Sing Fuels Pte Ltd to find out more about their history and how they plan to navigate their company into the future.
Q: Good afternoon Gentlemen, thank you so much for your time. Can you tell us more about the beginnings of Sing Fuels Pte Ltd and the nature of your business?
A: We were bunker traders each with more than 10 years’ experience handling in-house bunkering services. When we started Sing Fuels Pte Ltd between 2011 and 2012, it was a very tough period of time for the industry, with many doomsayers proclaiming that bunkering is a sunset industry. But, we saw an opportunity and believed in our vision that there was a service gap that needed to be filled.
We started off as a two-man team providing just bunker brokering services for the first year. From there we started growing and we are now a full-service outfit that provides services in bunker trading in marine fuels and lubricants, vessel and dislopping services, and handle risk management for our clients to mitigate their risk exposure in a very volatile market.
While we are a Singaporean company, we currently have presence in 8 major cities that span from Shanghai to Denmark, providing services from ports in the South-China sea to those in the North Sea.
Q: Can you share with us some of the biggest challenges in running the business?
A: As a mid-sized company, it is not easy for us to attract and retain talents in a highly competitive industry. Fortunately, we have built up a reputation for our company culture of transparency and inclusiveness over the years, and have attracted a team of extremely high caliber individuals to join us in growing this fantastic organization. We are very glad to have a team of dedicated individuals that has a sense of ownership, and take great pride in the work that they are doing.
Having said that, the other challenge that we face is that we are in an industry that is very exposed to the macro-economic movements of the world. In order to overcome that, we are always striving to innovate, strategize and chart a direction that is most beneficial for the company and our team.
Q: How does Sing Fuels Pte Ltd stand out from the crowd?
A: We are the largest Singaporean domicile bunker company here. That puts us in the unique position of being able to be nimble and flexible in responding to situations and making decisions without having to go through layers of bureaucracy and red tape. At the same time, we have a strong enough base to be a bastion of stability in the un-predictable movements that is associated with our trade.
We are also known in the industry as a company that prioritize the needs and benefits of our clients above pure profits. Apart from providing physical support to our clients, we also provide advisory services to help our clients find the best pricing and ports to suit their individual needs.
When it comes to trades, we are well known for our non-biased stance in arbitrating disputes that usually results in a fair outcome for all parties involved.
Q: What are some of the biggest sacrifices you have had to make on your journey so far?
A: We don’t feel that there’s any ‘sacrifice’ in doing what we are passionate about. We might not have as much time to spend with our families and loved ones as compared to others, but we take a great deal of pride in the work that we have done. It is our job, and our responsibility, as the company’s navigators to make sure that the organization is always moving in the most optimum direction, bringing the most benefits to the team that have worked tirelessly with us.
Q: What are your plans for Sing Fuels Pte Ltd in the coming years?
A: We want to maintain the momentum of growth that has been built up over the years. We will be expanding into more markets to provide our services to a wider client base. With the strength of our trading platform now, we have recently expanded into Africa through Nigeria, and are planning our entrance into the North American market. Further down the road, we will also move into Latin America and strengthen our presence in the Middle East, and Asia. Basically, we want to be able to serve clients that travels anywhere from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
We are also exploring the possibilities of expanding our suite of offerings to include all petrol-chemical related products and services. It is no longer enough in this new economy to be strong in only one vertical in business, it is pertinent to diversify into related niches and build strength in multiple verticals to support and encourage growth of the organization.
Our aspiration is to get into the Alternate Exchange. To achieve that, we are grabbing opportunities for market changing dynamics such as LNG Bunkering. We are also working on getting into physical supplies in niche areas, and trading a larger suite of products.
Q: Who or what are your inspirations or motivations?
A: Our passion for the job drives us, and we are motivated by our desire to be problem solvers and solution providers. It is extremely satisfying to see the business grow from strength to strength every single day. In a way, you can say that we are a very Singaporean company in that we are consistently punching above our weight in a highly competitive industry populated with players that are many times our size.
Q: What are some of your core principles personally and in running Sing Fuels Pte Ltd?
A: Transparency and Inclusiveness are very close to our hearts, it is built into the DNA of our company culture, and is something that we are known for. Having said that, principles and values are two very different things. Each individual can have their own values system due to the influences they were exposed to in their formative years, but principles are ideals that you voluntarily adopt. At Sing Fuels Pte Ltd, we work on the principle of always prioritizing the needs of our clients first. We will always look out for the interests of all stakeholders, and will always strive to add real tangible value to them in our dealings.
Q: How would you define success for yourself?
A: As a business entity, wealth creation is definitely part of the equation when we talk about success, but it is not the only consideration. Attaining success is sometimes not as important as how you attain that success. We believe in operating in an ethical manner to achieve our goals of sustainable growth for the business. We want to create happiness for the people that are related to the company and ourselves as individuals. We would consider it a small success if what we create with the company can help people grow and add value to the community.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being in the business?
A: We are really passionate about what we do here at Sing Fuels Pte Ltd. We enjoy seeing the company grow from day to day, we love it when we get the recognition we work so hard for, and have our ideas and visions validated by the market. We thoroughly enjoyed the process of building this business up from where we started and the sense of camaraderie we forged with the entire team all over the world.
Q: Finally, what advice would you give to young aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: Difficulties are common in building a business, entrepreneurship is not as easy as it looks. You must have the grit and perseverance to take that one small step every day to achieve the goals and targets you have set for yourself and your company. Be creative, innovate and think out of the box for solutions, the job of the entrepreneur is to solve problems, be open-minded and keep moving forwards, don’t become stagnated, when you stop moving forwards, you will just be regressing.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to socialize and build networks, relationships, and trust, no one can do everything alone, we all need the support of each other to grow and thrive.