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noRWAY In SInGAPoRe focuSing on diSputeS


offshore sector has also become increasingly important, including a large number of rig orders by Norwegian companies at shipyards in Singapore. An area the firm has been focusing on in


Singapore over the last year is the growth of its dispute resolution practice.“A year back we started to focus on dispute resolution,” he says. “Part of the focus of that group is to get


involved in arbitration. Some of the arbitrations are quite big and we do see quite a bit of business potential there.” The boom in newbuilding orders in


recent years is expected to lead to more disputes between owners and shipyards. In terms of the business as a whole in


Setting up shop in Singapore in 2000 Norwegian law firmWikborg Rein was initially following its client’s moves abroad. Over the last 11 years the firm has expanded its presence in Singapore and its client base beyond its traditional Scandinavian market.“It has been a sort of platform and has developed so today we do business with many clients who are not from Norway or Scandinavia,” says Per M Ristvedt,managing partner ofWikborg. In 2007 the firm added a local law


regional expanSion


Wilhelmsen Ship Services (WSS) has been expanding its service offerings in Singapore, and growing its business across SoutheastAsia. “The ship agency business had its


busiest month in the last three years in January in excess about 240 vessel calls in Singapore, and 530 in SoutheastAsia,” says Niall Denholm, area director, Southeast Asia forWSS. In Singapore the company recently


completed a lifeboat service centre.“That is to meet the demand for the life raft rental business,” he says.The lifeboat rental business has proved highly successful for WSS and in the space of less than 24 months it has lifeboats on 14,000 vessels globally.“We take all the hassle of managing that part of your safety portfolio inhouse,” he adds. The company is also setting up a hub in


Singapore for its ship spare logistics business launched last year.Under the serviceWSS handles all the logistics of transporting ship


capability through an alliance with PanAsian Alliance.The alliance allows the firm to offer advice on and practice Singapore law and act in cross border work both for Singapore and Norwegian law, and also Singapore and English law.Ristvedt believes the alliance is an important component for the firm in Singapore and that if they did not have it they would be lacking something in the general service they try to provide. In the maritime sector the focus has mainly been on ship finance, and the


Singapore Risvedt says the firm is “quite busy” with work having picked up again after the financial crisis. Looking aheadWikborg plans to increase its staff in Singapore from 15 at present to 25 by 2014. “We have a plan to focus on doing


corporate work in Singapore as we move towards 2014,” he says. A focus on corporate work will aim to capitalise on moves such as the agreement between the Singapore Exchange and Oslo Bors to promote dual listings on their respective exchanges.


opportunities in SoutheastAsia and is eyeing a number of potential expansion plans.“This is a good place to be doing business and we see a lot of growth,” Denholm says. He notes there is growth in India and


Vietnam, and in Indonesia coal exports continue to grow.On home turf he says Singapore’s dynamism amazes him with all the new businesses that are coming here. “There are more ship management companies coming over, there are more European operations looking to set up satellite offices here, and that is really because there is so much business going on here inAsia.” To meet this growth WSS is eyeing


spares from its warehouses to the ship.The business currently has a global hub in Hamburg.“We are setting up a second hub in Singapore so we can service theAsian market real time rather than Europe with an eight hour time differential,” Denholm explains. French shipping line CMA CGM has already signed up. The company sees a lot of growth


setting up its own warehousing operations in a number of countries in the region.“We are going to expand our infrastructure in SoutheastAsia.There are plans for opening these kind of stations in a number of locations, and when we cannot open directly because of scales of economy we need to approve contractors to work on our behalf,” Denholm explains.


Seatrade Singapore Report 2011


45


Courtesy of the SingaporeTourism Board


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