Globalised economy, global alliances: with the African continent growing at such a strong pace, Singaporean companies will be looking for more business opportunities with Africa.


As the world economy enters a new era of global interdependence, companies need to find a way to have a presence internationally. That thinking is behind a strategic alliance between ship chandlers, Ghana's Vacutech and Singapore's Anchor Marine Supplies.

Shipping has always provided a cost-efficient way of bulk transport, and the sea carries over 90% of global trade. Recognising the global nature of shipping, Vacutech, a chandling business in Ghana, entered into strategic partnership at the start of 2015 with Anchor Marine Supplies, a Singapore-headquartered chandling enterprise.

Ships travelling to Asia from Europe go either by the Suez Canal, northeast towards China, Japan, and Korea or south to Australia. Singapore is a natural stopover point for all routes, where ship chandlering businesses such as Anchor Marine Supplies provide support and fresh supplies to ships that dock.

While big players in the industry have the resources to open up branches in other regions, for small and medium enterprises, strategic alliances are a way to expand across regions, to diversify risks and to have stakes in multiple markets.

Vacutech's Michael Akorful says: "We wanted to expand operations across Asia and we could not do that without forming a strategic alliance with an Asia-based company."

Vacutech identified Singapore as a strategic place to have an agent. Akorful explains, "Singapore has a stable economy, efficient infrastructure and is business friendly.

"Ship owners prefer to register their vessels under the Singapore flag, internationally recognised as a quality registry of shipping. To be aligned with this mark of quality translates into business advantage, making Singapore a strategic location to source for strategic partners."

For Anchor Marine Supplies, the strategic alliance allows for a global reach. Zack He from Anchor Marine Supplies says:

"Many owners today prefer a complete solution when it comes to shipping supplies. And while the larger international players can open up new branches and expand across major ports, the relatively smaller players like us would have to rely on strategic partners to facilitate that."

One of the advantages of having strategic partners in regions where you may have clients, is the benefit of getting important information at ground-level.

"The sharing of information when it comes to matters of credit-worthiness of clients is an essential part of the cooperation. Companies that are situated in a particular...

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