in focus: ECU Singapore: Growing from strength to strength
In focus
ECU Singapore: Growing from strength to strength


Driving ECU Singapore's

growth

Completing 20 years of operations, ECU Singapore has emerged as the preferred logistics partners for stakeholders in the global trading hub

A major transhipment hub in the Asian region and a world leader in terms of container shipping and liner connectivity, Singapore is a key market for the global logistics industry. Singapore was the world's number one port in terms of container throughput till 2010, and is determined to reclaim its numero uno status through policy initiatives. By 2023, the country's freight & logistics market is tipped to touch USD115 billion.

Singapore has been at the forefront of shaping the global trade for decades and this is true for ECU Worldwide Singapore as well. Even as Singapore pursues its aggressive plans, ECU Singapore is keeping pace with the country's growth trajectory and is ahead of the curve in offering cutting-edge logistics solutions to its customers.

Right connections

As a leading hub within the network, ECU Singapore's operations have grown from strength to strength in expanding direct services for LCL. ''As a transhipment hub in Asia, we offer maximum direct services — 104 direct services for export and 87 direct services for imports,'' says Brahmananda Sharma, Country Manager, ECU Worldwide Singapore, adding that the strength of the hub is largely because of the excellent connections which the Singapore port offers.

Singapore's top trading partners are China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and the USA and the country's top import-export items are electrical machinery equipment including computers, mineral fuel, chemicals, optical / medical equipment, foodstuff and consumer durables. The Singapore port offers over 60 sailings every day, with 12 to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, three sailings to Europe, three to Japan, eight to South Asian countries, two to the US and 33 daily sailings to various countries in South East Asia.

ECU Worldwide Singapore's sharp focus on expanding to niche lanes and other value-added services hyphen like land-side services, dangerous goods handling and clearance capabilities is enabling a consistent and continuous growth in the top-line. ECU Singapore's niche export trade lanes include services to Belawan, Cagayane de Oro, Davao, Darwin, Lae, Lagos, Lazaro Cardenas, Maputo, Port Motukea, Subic, Tamatave, Tema and Varna. Equipped with DG2 handling capability, it offers services ranging from handling of various products and multi-modal consignments, to cross-docking, ex works, DAP shipments and projects.

Strong network

In addition, ECU Singapore is also focusing on expanding the portfolio of services to offer customers key products such as FCL and air freight. The Singapore team's largest customer is ECU's own network, which accounts for 70 per cent of the transhipment cargo.

ECU Singapore is in fact celebrating the 20th anniversary of its presence in Singapore, and is today among the top four consolidators in this key South East Asian market. ''We take this opportunity to thank our customers, our network, our business partners and the entire team who have helped us reach where we are today,'' says Mr Sharma.

Team & technology

ECU Singapore has a 102-strong team, including local and regional employees, with dedicated in-house teams for pricing as well as support functions. Each of the functional teams like sales, operations, finance, HR and admin are led by functional managers, who directly report to the Country Manager, constituting a flat organisation structure that is faster and more effective when it comes to decision-making, communication and implementation of strategies. ''Every employee is inducted to adhere to core values of the company and there is recognition for staff for living by these values,'' says Mr Sharma, adding that throughout the year, the Singapore unit rolls out various engagement activities for internal as well as external stakeholders, and the positive effect of these initiatives is reflected in the unit's positive employee net promoter score and net promoter score.

With digitalisation emerging integral to strategic discussions, ECU Singapore is deploying cutting-edge technologies to drive the transformation. From building a robust operating system to implementing tech-led projects like FAST & PMA, the Singapore office is effectively using technology to increase productivity levels, improve efficiencies and make the teams highly effective.

The way forward

Despite challenges like the China-US trade sanctions, OBOR initiative, carrier rate fluctuations and shifting of production bases, ECU Singapore has been resilient and pro-active in surmounting issues. The year 2018 was driven on a six-pillar strategy — covering growth, cost-leadership initiatives, employee engagement, service excellence, process improvement and building customer loyalty.

As a hub, ECU Singapore's focus will remain on being the best in facilitating consolidation services to the ECU network and its other customers. As an extension to the regular consolidation, the Singapore unit will focus on building a formidable team that can take every challenge that comes its way — from exploring possibilities across the supply chain and working closely with the top management to drive these initiatives, to training the team with millennials in a contemporary leadership style in making them high-performance managers with high emotional intelligence.

''We will always strive for excellence in service, and that will clearly pave the way for growth. We shall continue our focus on the strategic pillars for 2019 as well. As a team, we are excited at the possibilities that adversities will throw up and are ready to grab these opportunities to grow,'' said Mr Sharma, adding that the that the Plan 2020 has what is plan 2020 and the team is on course to achieve the objectives.

The south east Asian region has a promising economic growth outlook, which will have a positive bearing on Singapore. ECU Singapore is equipped to ride this wave and capture every business opportunity that comes its way.

  • The multiple sailings every week include four sailings to Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh, three to Manila and two to Haiphong for exports
  • For import, ECU Worldwide Singapore has three sailings every week from Shanghai and two each from Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh and Hamburg
  • While the intra-Asia region is the largest contributor to the export volumes of Singapore, the key trade lanes contributing export volumes are Ho Chi Minh, Haiphong, Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok.
  • For imports, the Europe region is the largest contributor with 26% share of total volumes, with key lanes from UK, Le Havre, Hamburg, Antwerp and Marseille