James Fisher and Sons plc profiles Fendercare Marine's operations in Asia

We talk to Ashley Mawby, regional director Asia Pacific at Fendercare Marine to find out more.

Rapid economic and demographic growth makes Asia a key region for James Fisher which boasts a significant number of group companies operating locally to deliver specialist services in this developing market.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I joined Fendercare Marine in January 2015. Although I studied economics originally, my first job as a graduate was with P&O Nedlloyd where I spent seven years working within the container shipping and logistics arena in Europe, Latin America and Asia. I then moved over to marine services/shipping asset management company, the Wallem Group. Initially based in Thailand, I spent four years heading the Indo-China cluster for the group before switching to the Hong Kong headquarters to lead the unit globally for the last three years as Wallem Ship Agency managing director. This put me in a great position when the Asia Pacific regional director job came up at Fendercare Marine.

We have a great expat community here in Singapore and, as well as being a major global shipping and offshore hub, it is a dynamic and interesting place to live. I love sport and one leisure pursuit highlight is playing in the James Fisher group company touch rugby team - The Pelicans!

What's your current role?

We have three pillars to our business right now: ship-to-ship transfers, the selling of marine products and the development of our marine services portfolio.

As regional director, my role includes P&L responsibilities for three business units in the region, sales, operations and the longer-term strategic direction for the company. Over the last year I have been involved in running some of the strategic STS relationships across Malaysia/Indonesia and Korea as well as diversifying our marine products business into new countries (such as Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines). I have also been widening the product offering in our traditional Singapore market (by securing a licensing agreement with composite hose manufacturer, Dantec) and developing the third pillar of our marine services portfolio in South East Asia.

Is Fendercare thriving in Asia?

It is, but because the marine and offshore sectors in the region are currently under severe strain (reflecting global macro trends) we are very focused on continuing to diversify into new geographic markets and broadening our services and product portfolio to match market demand.

STS is the 'anchor' business for us out here and worth around $30 million (US) annually, compared to the $10 million we turnover on marine products. Despite challenging times and volatility in the oil price, 2015 was a great year for STS and the outlook for 2016 is very positive with organic growth in our existing locations as well as new locations and projects. We now have five floating storage units in Malaysia, and we are looking to add two more units this year. We are keen to be involved in the fast developing world of LNG transfer and we are looking at a number of projects currently in the region.

What makes Fendercare stand out?

Our experience and our exemplary safety and environmental record really sets us apart in the world of STS. Although it is a high-risk manoeuvre every Fendercare STS transfer is supported by key expertise from our mooring master, asset integrity from our tugs, premium and quality equipment on the fenders and hoses, as well as absolute adherence to all safety standards and global operations manuals.

For every STS transfer we provide Yokohama fenders, marine hoses and mooring master expertise, expert personnel, and tugs which we use to bring the two ships together, under control, so cargo can be safely transferred at sea. This really sets us apart from our competition.

What does the future hold?

During the next five years Asia looks set to become a key growth area for the entire James Fisher group of companies. Singapore is one of the key global marine and offshore hubs and Fendercare Marine is well placed to take advantage of this. STS operations take place in Indonesian and Malaysian waters but our clients all sit in Singapore.

We are expecting demand to grow in these two 'traditional' locations but also with new opportunities in some of the more emerging locations in the region.