|Day 1, 27th Feb||Day 4, 2nd March||Day 7, 5th March||Day 10, 8th March
||Day 13, 11th March|
|Day 2, 28th Feb||Day 5, 3rd March||Day 8, 6th March
||Day 11, 9th March||Day 14, 12th March|
|Day 3, 1st March||Day 6, 4th March||Day 9, 7th March||Day 12, 10th March|
Our last Day in Singapore started easy going. We packed our bags and set out for the city a last time. Some of us used the last chance for visiting the observation deck of the "Marina Bay Sands"-hotel, others bought a few gifts for their families and friends at home. At 20 o'clock our bus driver Ricky, who gave us a safely transfer through Singpore the last 14 days, picked us for the transfer to the airport. Kindly, 4 singaporean students from NUS we met at the STG-evening waited at the airport for saying us goodbye.
After a quiet flight and stopover in London, we landed on Sunday morning in Hamburg at 10.15 clock local time. Except for one student who wanted to visit Malaysia three weeks, everyone is back safely. With a polo shirt on which we had printed a group photo, we thanked our companion Iwer Asmussen for travelling with us. He hadn't just travelled with us, with him we experienced the 14 days fully of interesting company visits and different impressions from an overwhelming city. Singapore was a unique opportunity for us getting "the whole overview".
Once again, we want to say thank you, especially to Iwer and Dirk Lehmann from Becker Marine Systems, and all who supported us and made this excellent journey possible.
Mr. Dirk Lehmann gave us a very interesting and thorough presentation about his company and a new division in Asia, in Singapore. We really enjoyed having the opportunity to hear the description of some technical details and were glad to understand them all. We were also told the secret of the company’s success and future perspectives of other shipbuilding companies.
In contrast to others, Mr. Lehmann told us also about problems, which his company faced at the very beginning of its activities in Singapore. By other companies we didn’t hear about any problems at all. Since Mr. Lehmann did not have enough time to answer all our questions, he invited us later on to a German beer restaurant in our last evening in the city. Of course we were pleased to take the proposal to spend the rest of the evening with him.
In conclusion, we discussed within our group in short all visited companies and what we learned from it. The discussion took few hours, so that each had a possibility to say a couple of words about each company. We summarized all opinions and impressions and this information will be presented as an article in the future.
The afternoon was used as last but one chance for Sightseeing and at 7pm we started our last evening with Mr. Lehmann, knuckles, schnitzel and white beer. He told us a lot of impressing and interesting things about his business until we have been the last group in the restaurant. For this invitation and great evening we would like to say a big thank you to Mr. Lehmann. After all we celebrated into Timo’s birthday and got some impressions of Singapore's nightlife.
This day began with a visit at NTU (Nanyang Technological University). Actually this University does not offer studies in ship design in a classical manner but is involved in several research projects related to marine engineering. We visited different so-called schools, which are situated within the college of engineering, being one of four colleges at the university.
Founded as recently as last year, but already employing more than 200 researchers and accessing funds of about 100m Euro the „ERIAN“ (Energy Research Institute) is focusing on the nascent clean energy of wind and marine renewables, energy storage, green and smart buildings and fuel cells. Under the head of this institute the „Centre for Maritime Research“ (CMER) is working together with DNV on ocean renewable energy research as well as in greener shipping issues. In terms of „Green Ships“ NTU and DNV try to find alternative fuels, do research in electric propulsion and work on carbon capture procedures. Next to nuclear power, fuel cells and biofuels gained from palm oil do in their opinion constitute a suitable solution for the upcoming environmental problems arising from the usage of heavy fuel oil.
The school for mechanical and aerospace engineering has more than 3000 undergrads and about 350 PhD students and is doing some research on hull optimization as well as on hull-propulsor interactions. In the school of civil and environmental engineering we saw the laboratory for simulating earthquakes with the target to analyze concrete structures and to find ways for making buildings stronger and safer.
After lunch in the modern and well organized canteen we headed to GL in Downtown Singapore. We gained a good insight into GL’s daily work, especially in the ship survey business in southeast Asia.
With three more companies to visit, we had another busy day in Singapore! We started at the Singaporean office of Wärtsilä. At first we got a brief introduction into the history of Wärtsilä which has been founded in 1834 and is nowadays a leading supplier of ship power solutions. The Singaporean office has currently approximately 750 employees. The core business of the Singaporean office is the Service, whereas the other fields Ship Power and Power Plants make together less than 7 % of their net sales. Also interesting to see was the percentage of employees in comparison to the net sales. In Europe 56 % of all the employees are stationed and 28 % of the net sales is being acquired, whereas the Asian market has 31 % of employees but 39 % of the net sales is being produced. This highlights once again the importance of the Asian market regarding the sales, but also the still strong engineering work which is being done in Europe. Afterwards we got another small presentation about the services which are being done in Singapore. Once we were done with the presentation, we had the chance to see the workshop. There, all the work on the liners, pistons, valves etc. are carried out. After the visit of the Maersk Essen with its impressive 12RT-flex 96C, it was interesting to see the dimensions of the inner parts of such an engine.
Next we needed to hurry to be in time at Berg Propulsion. At first we got a presentation of the company’s history and their current products which are controllable pitch propellers (CPP), fixed pitch propellers, thrusters, azimuth thrusters, hydraulic systems, as well as the recently introduced control systems. Berg Propulsion has the largest market share of midsize CPP’s, which range from 1.5m – 8m, respectively from 300kW – 20,000kW. Once again we got the chance to have a look into the workshop, where we found impressive state-of-art machineries to produce their products. The facility in Singapore is not carrying out the casting but more the finishing of the individual products. After a short lunch break which was held nearby, we came back to Berg Propulsion to see their small simulator, were their latest control systems are usually shown to customers. This control system is being connected with a little game, were a double-end ferry has to be maneuvered through a harbor. All of us had a lot of and one of us even made the second place in the all-time high score.
Last but not least we went to see the Singaporean office of Rolls Royce. After two introductorily movies and a quick presentation of the overall products and services Rolls Royce is doing we held a short Q & A about the different locations, company structure, etc. of which Rolls Royce consists. It was interesting to see the progressive development of the company within the marine market. Afterwards we were shown the workshop. Unfortunately for us, most of the products were being shipped out of the workshop the day before. Nevertheless we got a good impression of the facility and specially their extensive quality management which is being carried out.
Once again we had a good insight into three suppliers, their products as well as their workshops.
This day started very early at about half-past five and the bus driver picked us up at quarter-past six. We were brought to the port, where a ferry to Batam (Indonesia) waited. Our first appointment was at the “Marco Polo Shipyard” and after a lunch we visited the “MCDERMOTT Yard”. Not knowing, what we have to expect, we were a little bit shocked and surprised. On the way from the port of Batam to “Marco Polo” we passed some “towns” with poor humans living in houses made of planks and corrugated iron. At the end of this trail, we founded the shipyard “Marco Polo”. Marco Polo is a new yard finished in 2008 and builds, with 300 employee and 1000 workers from subcontractors, new ships or does repairings. The business of new build ships generally consists out of accommodation barges and sometimes supply vessels. Everything is done in the two docks with a length up to 175m or in the field next to them. Sometimes, the hole new build ships, don’t care if barge or vessel, is completed on the field. After finishing, the ship is lifted with long balloons and rolls on it into the water.
The efficiency of the yard is not as good as we saw on other yard. Marco Polo has no panel street. The panels are welded by hand and open air on the none flat sandy ground. This decreases the workload and quality but also the costs. The cost advantage compared to Singapore is round about 20% to 30% for repairings and 10% to 15% for new build ships.
After having a lunch in a well prepared and nice restaurant, we had a meeting at “MACDERMOTT”. The whole company with 14400 employee has six engineering offices and seven yards worldwide. The yard of Batam had been finished 1970 and has 5983 workers now. Their business consists out of offshore decks, jackets, accommodation and heavy lift barges. The whole yard is very efficient equipped with big machines. For example, they can role their own tubes up to a plate thickness of 120mm. Actually the biggest project is a jacket with a mass of 23000t for a water depth up to 130m.
Additional to modern production, safety and social commitment is a big point of Macdermott. For example, they build accommodations for orphans, schools and helps to bring in the waist separation. One highlight was the way bag to the ferry. We started at finishing time together with round about 1000 scooters and 3000 people sitting on them. The two trail street was added with two new trails and the safety distance decreases down to half a meter.
This day provided an insight into another world just some kilometers away from Singapore and let us know how two completely different yards are able to exist in the same business and area.
After a great night on Maersk Essen, we started day nine with the trip to Jurong Shipyard. The Jurong Shipyard is one of 7 shipyards around Singapore who belongs to the main-company Sembcorp Marine. In addition to these shipyards, sembcorb marine has strategically located other yards and offices in China, Brazil, USA, India and the Middle East. Sembcorp Marine delivers during their existence a diversity of different products and services. Since 1963 they do ship repair, shipbuilding, ship conversion, rig building and offshore products. Their focus is today on offshore platforms and floating production facilities, like jack-ups, semi-submeribles, FPSO, FPU, TLP's, as well as on 2600 TEU container vessels and LNG tanker.
Our program started with a warmly welcome-round of introductions and a presentation about the company. They invited also ten of their young engineers from various fields. The presentation gave us a good all-round view about the company. Jurong shipyards have 9000 employees at the moment and will deliver 5 platforms this year. The price is 1 billion US dollar and the construction period is about 28 months. After the presentation we have made a shipyard-tour by bus and we had the chance to leave the bus for a while to get a better impression of the very giant semi-submeribles. At the end we got a delicious lunch and had many stimulating discussions with the young engineers.
The rest of the day we had time to go to Sentosa, a small island of Singapore. It is the regeneration-holiday-island for the locals - a real big cheesy and phoney world. One of the "highlights" was the possibility to make a picture with a big snake, a oriental hat and a man, who played for 30 seconds his flute for only 5 Sing-dollar. From Sentosa you have also a great view of plenty of old vessels and industry, so the conclusion is: Its must be the paradise :)
On Sunday a visit on Maersk Essen, a 13.100 TEU Container vessel, was scheduled. In the morning we were informed that the arrival of the ship was rescheduled from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. So a few of us relaxed at the pool, others visited the fascinating "Marina Bay Sands"-Hotel. It was an amazing view of the city, the new reclaimed land with its big construction sites and of the ships waiting for passing the street of Malacca.
At 8 pm a bus fetched us. After entering the Safety-Area of the PSA, our bus brough us to the biggest ship in harbour: The "Maersk Essen". The long gangway up to the maindeck let us imagine which dimensions were waiting for us. We were divided into two groups for the tour through the ship. Passing thousands of containers, we went down to the main engine situated aft. In estimated 50°C, the crew showed us everything and answered questions professionally. What surprised us most, was the enormous free space everywhere: The bridge, the accomodation rooms, the crew relaxing rooms. Thus the crew was very satisfied with their ship, because they can work in very good circumstances. At midnight we left the vessel and returned to our hostel.
It was a great time on the "Maersk Essen" and we have to say a special thank to the crew and all other involved persons, which organized this big event.
Today we had only one appointment at the Singapore International Foundation (SIF). The SIF is a non-profit organisation with the mission to build a better world through sharing ideas and a better understanding between the Singaporeans and world communities.
They also organise Singapore Discovery Weekends for arrived expatriates and professionals already working in Singapore. Fortunately we could participate in such a weekend and visited the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). The URA works on long time strategic plans and detailed local area plans for physical development and then coordinates to bring the plans into reality.
After a welcome we got an introduction about the history and expansion of Singapore. On a large model we had a good overview about the coming up districts and land reclamation. It was interesting to get to know that buildings are not allowed to become higher than 280m because of security and aviation reasons.
After some nice pictures of Singapore live and a presentation we had a lunch break and in the meantime we got some impressions in URA’s Singapore City Gallery of the heavy changes in the last 60 years.
Saturated we were brought to the Pinnacle@Duxton, the first 50-storey public housing project, built in 1963. These are seven towers with 1,848 apartments connected with two sky bridges at 26th store and the top of the building.
A guide was talking with us due a small trip with a bus around this building. He was telling about the history of Singapore and its traditions. The excursion continued on the sky bridge on top of the building. Being there you get a lot of impressions. It is really possible to see all parts of the city. You can go walking on a roof. There is enough room rather for jogging. People who leave there do it.
On the other hand you can understand the differences between modern and old cultures. It’s possible to see an old part of a china town with its small houses and a big temple. Our guide told us some stories that in old “good” times it was possible to eat there snakes, which were killed and cooked on your eyes. Also he told us about some fire cases in the city and how they began to build tower buildings.
The main idea of the speech was that people could improve they life very rapidly: for example, 30 years ago a lot of them had to rent a flat and now most have their own flat.
We made many photos and got a very good mood for the last part of the day, what we used for visiting a “little India” – an Indian block with traditional houses and shops.
The day after the STG evening happened to have another packed schedule waiting for us. Starting off at 8.30 our bus left for PaxOcean's offices which rather resembled the style of the local hospital than the overly polished conference rooms we have mostly seen over the last days.
Still, PaxOcean being the designer and builder of offshore vessels for other companies of the Kuok Group made a relatively sophisticated impression. While in the company's early days PaxOcean only turned Norwegian designs into reality, they are now offering the whole package from basic design to workshop drawings. Their in-house team basically relies on the industry-standard tools and software packages also seen on Western yards, like NAPA and AVEVA Marine. In their presentation they also mentioned to be a customer of European towing tanks (HSVA, …).
Opposed to the design and engineering work which is solely done in the Singapore Headquarters, actual production takes place in the paradise of low-cost labor - China. The smaller of the two PaxOcean yards is already in operation for a few years now, while the construction of the second and way larger facility close to Shanghai is still underway as of today. Scheduled to be finished by the end of this year, it will provide a fully-equipped shipyard including drydocks of up to 400x100m in size, also allowing for the latest generation semi-subs and offshore rigs to be docked.
Next up and still before lunch time was POSH, sister company to PaxOcean, a global player in ship management for offshore vessels. POSH is managing more than 50 ships and about 20 barges distributed all over the world (excluding Europe!). Interestingly they are also having small ship repair facilities on-site for maintenance work and minor repair purposes.
Although the next bullet on our list was Contact Singapore, we had to fit in a visit at PSA's Pass Centre to obtain port passes for Sunday's visit aboard "Mærsk Essen". Leaving a bunch of fingerprint and photos there made us skip the lunch break, being headed for Contact Singapore right afterwards.
Back in the EDB building in downtown Singapore, Zhi from Contact Singapore who already joined many of our previous visits gave another more detailed presentation on work and life in Singapore. That also included legal issues like taxation, the visa application process, employment passes and much more. New to us was the concept of the WHP, which offers students and graduates an easy possibility to stay and work in Singapore for a duration of 6 months.
Later, refreshments were followed by corporate presentations of ABS, MAN Diesel and HATLAPA which pointed out different aspects of doing business in Asia in general and Singapore in particular. MAN, being represented by the Human Resources Manager focused on work-life balance and work atmosphere which apparenly includes a number of social events like Chinese New Year celebrations, bowling competitions and so on.
Last on stage was Mr Nürnberg, HATLAPA's CEO, who gave a good insight on doing business in Asia as a German company and marine supplier. Being around here for some 15 years already, he also expressed his concerns about the German maritime industry being left behind the very active, focused and responsive Asians.
After 9 hours straight at various places around the city, many of us decided to conclude the day with good food, cold beers and some live music at Marina Bay Waterfront and Clarke Quay.
The 5th day was definitely a highlight of our excursion so far. The day started with sunshine, which was perfect to visit the botanic garden of Singapore, which was established over 150 years ago. It is a beautiful place to leave the noise and rush from the city behind and have a nice walk through the different local vegetations. The garden is divided into different themes like the so called “Evolution Garden”, “Rain Forrest” or of course the “Orchid Garden”. Due to our tight time-schedule, we unfortunately had to skip the famous “Orchid Garden”. More informations about the botanic garden can be found on the website www.sbg.org.sg.
After a lunch break in of the numerous food courts we were picked up to visit Keppel. Keppel Group has different interests, e.g. offshore & marine, infrastructure, property and investments. In total it owns 20 shipyards all over the world. In Singapore there are 7 different shipyard facilities located where up to 30,000 people are employed. They are a major player in the offshore business and have build over 50% of all jack-ups and semisubmersibles during the past 10 years. Despite of the manufacturing, Keppel also provides the full design of their products.
Our visit was divided in two parts. After a welcome from Mr. Charles Foo, the deputy director of KOMtech (Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Center), we were listening to presentations of the Keppel Group, as well as the research fields of KOMtech. During a tour through the offices of KOMtech, we had the chance to get even more inside-information about the various projects KOMtech is looking into. Mr. Asbjørn Mortensen was so kind to accompany us at the whole time and give us additional insights into the research projects. The research fields within KOMtech which were presented to us are ranging from materials, CFD, design, process optimization and several others.
In the second part of our visit we got the chance to see the shipyard “Keppel FELS,” which is located is located in the south of Singapore. At this facility Keppel manufactures mainly offshore structures like jack-ups and semisubmersibles. Right at the beginning of our tour we got a first impression of the dimensions of this single shipyard as we saw the numerous busses, which were waiting to transport the workers back to their accommodations. Furthermore it was deeply impressive to see the numbers and sizes of the semisubs which were moored at the quay-side. It was really a unique experience as these kind of giant structures in many places of the world. The whole shipyard is packed with workers, shops, tools and materials as space is in general a rare value in Singapore. Also we got a glimpse of the impressive “Asian Hercules” crane barge which is lifting up to 1,600 t.
To finish a perfect day we were invited to the “STG – Maritime Evening” which was kindly hosted by GL in the Raffles Town Club. After a few drinks in the lobby and informative speeches and greetings from Lukasz Luwanski from GL Singapore, Iwer Assmussen from STG and Thiessen Lau from Rickmers Shipowning & Shipmanagement the delicious buffet has been officially opened. During and after the dinner we got the chance to talk to other guests from the maritime industry as well as local students. In total the evening had a nice and private atmosphere in a beautiful location. Once again we would like to take the opportunity to thank GL for their support, not only on this event.
Today’s new motto: „Growth – turn your vision into reality“. First appointment of the day was a presentation given by the vice president of OTTO Marine Limited. This company, the 5th largest shipbuilder in the world for AHTS vessels (Anchor Handling and Tug Supply Vessels), provides chartering, shipbuilding and special services. In fact we were told that to reduce costs even the Singaporean company outsources their building facilities to China but on the other hand it takes some time to transfer the knowledge and quality management. That is why OTTO Marine Limited sends supervising instructors to the yards in China. It is very interesting to see that the basic design of their vessels is done in Norway and Ukraine.
Next part of our excursion was a visit of the EMAS Offshore Services Pte Ltd, which is actually a shipping company for offshore support vessels. But on top of a normal company they provide special training programs for anchor handling, dynamic positioning and engineers for their crew. Mr. Kalyan Chatterjea, the Academy Consultant, and his instructors gave us a very warm welcome and it was a pleasure to get some information about the operation of a vessel which is very rare for us as naval architects. Highlight has been the visit of the simulator bridge of an offshore support vessel, made by Kongsberg, which allows the operator to drive fore and aft. Major aim of the academy is to test and improve the skills of their own crew and later on maybe they open up for other crew.
After a delicious lunch at the canteen of the NUS, the National University of Singapore, we were introduced to Prof. Choo Yoo Sang. He showed us the projects according to maritime technology in a very kind manner and explained every single question with a smile on his face. Key research projects in collaboration with commercial companies and yards in Singapore are the oil and gas production. The engineering faculty is running partnerships with classification classes as well. They push on special projects like floating container terminals or floating oil reservoirs in dimensions of a quarter of a 1 km². To complete the visit at the NUS we got a quick view of the mechanical laboratories. At any time we got the feeling that Prof. Choo Yoo Sang wants to encourage us to spend a semester at his university – we will see, may be.
Last action for today has been a meeting at A*Star. This nonprofit company acts as a link between the universities and the companies. Up to 150 researchers work on three main topics: mechanics, fluid dynamics and material engineering like nano technology. Mr. Ravi gave us a good overview of the capabilities of the company. He pointed out that, supported by the Singaporean ministry, they provide special founding for projects in universities. At the end we were shown a special 3D technique with goggles to demonstrate animated pictures. That was very fascinating.
Special thanks to our likeable Iwer Asmussen who sponsored the sundowner (Singapore Sling) at one of Singapore’s highest sky bars on top of the Swissotel. Even if there has not been much sun at the moment. That was today’s culinary conclusion.
PSA- Port Singapore Authority- has in Singapore one of the busiest and largest container terminals in the world. (And we will see, if Singapore recaptures the title as largest container port in the world.) The success grounded on stable economic conditions, efficient container handling and excellent connectivity to more of 600 other ports worldwide (to be exact: 123 countries). Singapore was and is number one of the container transshipment hub.
To see, how the container handling looks like in reality, we got the chance to drive through the Pasir Panjang Terminal, one of the 5 Terminals, with a quay length of about 8 kilometres. PSA has about 16 kilometres of quay length today in Singapore and handles over 26 million TEU. With new terminals under construction even during the economic crisis, Singapore is looking forward to double his container capacity. They will finished the necessary land reclamation for the new terminals in 7 years.
After a short break in the Vivo Shopping Mall for lunch we went to the German embassy. The Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Jens Janik, gave us an interesting overview about the Singaporean politic and an inside-view about their work as well. At this stop we got a different view about Singapore. We mentioned the aspects of living, education and some other facts in foreign country. At the moment live and work about 7100 Germans in Singapore. And what was the reason to visit the embassy? The answer is, that we think, it is very important to have a look beyond one's own nose. So it was great to get some clear, real information about the history, life and politics of Singapore
Today we decided to discover an new area of Singapore and went to China town with narrow, colourful and busy streets. Singapore is a melting pot of different religions. It is possible here, that two big temples located very close. This visit added a additional cultural and social touch to our third day.
Talents, Growth, Sustainability - the keywords of today. At the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) we were introduced to the keys for success and the strategic goals of Singapore. People from all over the world are welcomed to participate at the growth of this city - which is incredible 14.5 % of GDP in 2010. But not just the growth is in focus, although sustainability is seen as a key factor for the region. So Singapore for example plans to have autonomous water supply till 2061! As a perfect finish, we got an beautiful overview from the 28th floor of the "Raffles City Tower" to the skyline of singapore, where the EDB is situated.
After a good asian lunch, we were brought to Mencast, a supplier for the shipbuilding industry. It is situated in an industry park in the west of Singapore and produces propellers, shafts, rudders and other stern-gear equipment. After a warmly welcome by the CEO Mr. Glenndle Sim, we had a tour through the workshop. We had the chance to see the foundry in progress just as repair works at used (and grounded) propellers.
After the first day we looking forward to have more exiting days in a very fascinated city with a great atmosphere.
Good night !
ps. someone told us, what the habitants love: good food, shopping and air conditioner
The First Day in Singapore
Before departure we met in Hamburg Airport. Unfortunately, one person of our group had really big problems with a train connection. We hope to meet him tomorrow. Can you find out who is the missing person? ;-)
Our flight was trouble-free. We enjoyed the English cuisine at the plane. After about 14 hours in two planes we arrived successfully in Singapore.
On the way to the hotel by bus we got a first impression of the city. Our accommodation seems to be fine (it has a great swimming pool on the roof!) and now we are going to make our first walk through the city.
More information will follow...
... we went to the riparian Esplanada Mall and had delicious dinner at a typical asian food-court.