Passion and Pride – Making the Difference (Part 1)
As a Junior Underwriter at QBE Insurance and General Manager at Keppel Offshore & Marine, Jackie Lan and Ivan Lim could not be more different at first glance. Jackie is in her second year of work in marine insurance, while Ivan, who oversees operations for the Tuas and Gul shipyards, has been in this industry for 18 years.
Yet, speaking to these two Singapore Maritime Ambassadors, we hear a common story of how they fell in love with this industry and the pride they take in their work in Maritime Singapore – the top maritime capital of the world.
Love for Maritime, Then and Now
For Jackie, her first encounter with the maritime industry took the form of a holiday job at a freight forwarding company, which provided her with a front row seat to the action in the ports.
"I was fascinated by the vibrancy and all-encompassing nature of everything that was going on. I get excited whenever I see the massive gantry cranes standing at berth, enormous tankers doing bunkering at anchorage or containers on trailers moving on the road,” recounts the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduate on the experience that prompted her decision to pursue a Degree in Maritime Studies.
Ivan first pursued his interest in marine engineering at Singapore Maritime Academy – Singapore Polytechnic under a scholarship by Keppel Shipyard. Starting out as an Assistant Engineer at Keppel Offshore & Marine, Ivan’s experience was more hands-on. "When I was a junior officer in the company, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride whenever a repair vessel that I had worked on sailed off after dry docking in the yard,” he shared.
Ivan’s passion has kept him going at every stage of his career, from tanker repair projects to his move to operations for greater exposure in Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) project management and turret construction. This helped him clinch a second scholarship awarded by Keppel Group. He went on to graduate with First Class Honours in Master of Engineering (Marine Engineering) from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (UK).
Gateway to the Maritime Industry
Speaking about her work post-graduation, Jackie said, “Insurance is meant to provide protection to the client, so it is always satisfying to know that our customised products suit what the client wants and have helped them to achieve their business ambitions.”
Her passion helped her focus on the tasks at hand and she knows that her team has her back when the going gets tough. "When things get challenging, the first thing we need to adjust is our mindset to face it, and what gives me the power to conquer the challenges is the support of the team,” beamed the proud team leader.
Ivan realised in the early stages of his career, that it was important to develop a capable team in order to deliver the best solutions to customers. His love for the industry led the highly-driven engineer to naturally assume the responsibility of an industry champion. Drawing inspiration from the positive ripple effect of his work, he continues to raise the profile of the maritime industry today.
“I have a better appreciation that my job is not just about delivering services and products. I believe that I have a greater responsibility to change and influence people and their lives; through providing better jobs and livelihood to our staff, and the people worldwide, as they benefit from our solutions. This really excites me,” he said.
Singapore is widely recognised as the leading International Maritime Centre in international benchmarking studies such as “The Leading Maritime Capitals of the World” study conducted by Menon Economics and the “Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Centre Development Index”.
Singapore is also the busiest transhipment hub in the world, accounting for nearly one-seventh of the global transhipment volume. However, with competition arising from our neighbouring countries, the nation cannot afford to be complacent.
Having travelled around the world throughout his career, Ivan has seen the progress that other countries are making in their maritime ambitions.
“My overseas experiences have given me a global mindset and helped to broaden my perspective on a wider variety of views, expectations and needs,” he said, emphasising the necessity for Singapore to continuously innovate by learning and collaborating with other authorities.
“It is important to implement best practices that are relevant and transformational to our business model as we grow and change with the world. Seeing the competition first-hand, it reinforced my belief that we should not take things for granted even though we are the world leader.”
Today, the maritime industry contributes to 7 percent of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and employs over 170,000 people across over 5,000 maritime establishments. Singapore is also home to over 140 of the world’s top international shipping groups, and the Singapore government is taking measures to strengthen our position as a global maritime hub.
The construction of a new Tuas port is already underway. Scheduled for completion by 2040, the facility will increase our container capacity to 65 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) – double the cargo that our current port terminals handled in 2017. The Next-Generation Port will boast 8.6 km of wharves serviced by automated machinery and equipment.
This is part of the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) launched in January 2018, which is designed to boost our physical and virtual connectivity through the automation and digitalisation of processes.
The Sea Transport ITM is expected to increase the industry’s value-add by S$4.5 billion and create over 5,000 good PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) jobs by 2025.
Talent that Differentiates
Maritime professionals like Jackie, play a critical role for Maritime Singapore’s continued growth and success. Jackie recalled how an enquiry about coverage on a vessel that was not commonly used in Singapore prompted an immediate in-depth exploration into this uncharted territory by her team.
"We did various research on how this vessel is different from the conventional vessels and talked to surveyors on the likelihood and severity of claims. We then worked with actuaries on the probabilities to determine the appropriate premium level,” she explained.
As a Junior Underwriter, Jackie is able to benefit from opportunities to accumulate her experience in different types of risks – from hull and machinery risks, builders’ risks, to ship repairers’ liability and terminal operators’ liability, due to the wide range of marine insurance products offered by her company. This is made possible by the comprehensive maritime ecosystem that Singapore has successfully built up over the years across the port, shipping, maritime services, and offshore & marine engineering sectors.
Jackie’s passion for the role is also coupled with her willingness to learn. “I have visited vessels and shipyards in order to better understand the risks involved. I also had the opportunity to meet underwriters from the reinsurance market to get a different perspective of insurance,” she enthused.
Ivan’s passion and drive have propelled him to be where he is today. Having risen from a role as an Assistant Engineer in the machinery department to become a General Manager appointed in Keppel, Ivan is the perfect role model for aspirational Keppelites. He is concurrently the President of Keppel Young Leaders since 2013 and relishes the opportunities to nurture young talents across Keppel Group and imbue them with core values such as a global mindset, innovation and entrepreneurship. Whichever hat he wears, he makes it his mission to help his team be as motivated as he is.
“I share my vision and discuss ideas with my team regularly. It is also important to recognise team successes and individual performances,” he said, as he shares some of his secrets to building an effective team.
“I encourage the team to find co-working areas with external collaboration to achieve greater results and outcomes. This allows everyone to work and learn simultaneously, while enjoying the rewarding experiences created through collaboration. I also believe in setting targets and goals where we all strive towards excelling together with the people we work with and in the community we work in.”
What Are You Looking For?
Indeed, through sheer hard work and forward planning, Maritime Singapore stands among the best in the world today. While challenges lie ahead, we have the plans and the means to rise above them, alongside the support from passionate maritime professionals like Jackie and Ivan, where a job is more than just a job.
If you are keen to take up new challenges, explore new horizons and be part of a vibrant and dynamic industry, visit www.maritimesgconnect.com for more information.