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Interview: Singfar International aims to be a leading global player in sustainable shipping and bunkering

31 May 2021

Singapore-based independent vessel owning, newbuilding management, and chartering firm Singfar International Pte Ltd (SFI) has plans to become a leading player in sustainable shipping and bunkering in the republic and beyond, learns Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times.

In May 2021, SFI entered into a memorandum of understanding with Lianyungang Shenghua Shipbuilding Co., Ltd (LYGSH), China, for the joint development and construction of a series of 7,000 dwt liquefied natural gas (LNG) propelled dual fuel (DF) bunker tankers.

Ambitions in Sustainability

“The maritime industry is currently undergoing massive disruptions to achieve the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s vision of decarbonisation by 2050,” shares Mr Pai Hong Yao, Managing Director of SFI.

“We believe this impetus and the rapid advancements in maritime technologies will lead to a greater demand for greener and more efficient vessels.”

“At SFI, we strive to build new vessels which not only comply with the latest regulations, but also allow our charterers and buyers to be at the forefront of the sustainability curve.

“As such, we have divested a number of our conventional and older tonnage over the past six months at fairly attractive market valuations. This will allow us to execute our company strategy to build a younger, greener and more efficient fleet.”

According to Pai, SFI’s pipeline of newbuildings, including two IMO Tier-III (USGC approved) scrubber-fitted Suezmaxes and the series of 5+5 LNG DF bunker tankers ordered from LYGSH, demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainable shipping.

“SFI’s focus on sustainability also aligns well with the Maritime and Port of Singapore (MPA)’s push for the republic to become a leading hub for maritime decarbonisation,” he states.

“We believe our adoption of the latest technologies, coupled with our extensive newbuilding expertise and vessel management, will allow us to contribute meaningfully to Singapore’s maritime sector’s sustainability agenda.”

Commercial Operations

SFI and its subsidiaries, which mainly derive revenue from charter fees, currently own and manage 26 existing crude and product tankers, of which 23 are bunkering tankers. The company has another two Suezmaxes and a conventional bunker tanker in the newbuilding stage, in addition to the 5+5 LNG DF bunker tankers under joint development with LYGSH.

SFI serves a myriad of local and international charterers, ranging from national oil companies, oil majors, to international trading houses. It has further chartered out a number of vessels to various parties on both spot and time charter contracts – creating customer diversification for its business.

“As SFI embarks on our plans to grow both locally and internationally, we need to be mindful of the challenges posed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy in the short-to-medium term,” opines Pai.

“For the longer-term horizon, the overall health of the Singapore bunker industry will be vital to our growth plans.”

Alternative Fuels Direction

Looking ahead, Pai firmly believes SFI to be possessing the requisite expertise and experience to support the maritime sector’s transition towards a low-carbon future.

“The market is extremely fluid as developments are constantly made in both fuel sources and engine technologies,” he notes.

“Our core focus will be on supporting the transition to lower carbon fuels, which we are currently pursuing though our investment in the LNG-powered, DF bunker tankers.”

“However, we are also closely monitoring the developments of alternative marine fuels and technologies. SFI has invested in research and development through partnerships with relevant players in an effort to capture early market positions.”

A Global Player with Strong Local Roots

Moving forward, SFI endeavours to build a global fleet that creates value for stakeholders to “make Singapore proud,” according to Pai.

“Our company strives to provide quality tonnage assets on both spot and longer-term basis to third parties in the market,” he exclaims.

“Besides being commercially profitable, we want to be a leader in driving sustainability at the port of Singapore and beyond. The types of investments that we are making at SFI is a clear reflection of that.”

“My vision is to grow SFI into a world-class player in sustainable shipping and bunkering, with strong Singapore roots,” concludes Pai.

Related: Singapore: Singfar International makes shipping market debut with 5+5 DF bunker tanker newbuilding order


Photo credit: Singfar International
Published: 31 May, 2021

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