A glimpse of the inspiring people and stories of the maritime industry.


Just two weeks after graduating from Nanyang Technological University with a Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Studies with a Business major, Zhi Yong joined BW Pacific as a Chartering Executive, where he quickly learned the vast scope and depth of the Sea Transport sector. “When I first started, I experienced a very steep learning curve,” shares Zhi Yong. “That was when I truly understood how broad shipping is – what you learn in school is just scratching the surface. The amount of knowledge you really need to know to succeed is immense,” he recalls.

His interest in the sector was piqued from a young age. “My father worked in this sector and held an engineering-related role,” shares Zhi Yong. “I grew up being interested in big vessels, machines, and so on. Sea Transport is a major part of Singapore’s economy, so when I saw the Maritime course at NTU, I thought, why not?” Zhi Yong explains that the main aim of Charterers such as himself and his team, is to maximise revenues through charter parties, or contracts with clients to move cargo. “Our role is to find clients, negotiate the rates, terms and conditions,” says Zhi Yong.

To help him succeed in his role, his company also sent him for several courses, including one to improve his negotiation skills. This, he shares, is helpful when talking to clients and satisfying the interests of both parties. “You need certain skills and attributes to succeed,” says Zhi Yong. “Sea Transport is a sector where it’s simply impossible to learn everything at one go. Experience counts, and you need both determination and patience to get there,” he says.

In addition, he believes that the flexibility to adapt to changes, react fast, make quick decisions, and the ability to develop trust will set one apart. When asked about his proudest moment so far, Zhi Yong says, “The first is always the most memorable, so it has to be the first fixture I did in my career. It was never easy to get the first one starting but with the support and guidance from my team, I managed to take the first big step forward.” He adds, “Often, customers are more willing to do business with you only after you have gained their trust.”

Moving forward, he intends to broaden his knowledge in the sector, specifically in the technical and operational aspects. “The Skills Framework is a good guide on the skills to complement my core skill set to make me a well-rounded contributor. Newer technologies are constantly being adopted – I want to be able to keep up,” he says. “I am constantly looking to my bosses and management. In 10 to 15 years, my aim is to attain a similar level – that’s what pushes me forward.”

Source: Skills Framework for Sea Transport
Credit: SkillsFuture Singapore and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

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The Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office is a national initiative, supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, to profile the maritime industry and connect students and jobseekers with the multiple pathways into the industry.

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