Year of the pig (bacons) beckons

As Chinese New Year is just around the corner, it is hard to miss the festivities when our office is just next to Singapore’s Chinatown where all the action is taking place.

Red is the colour of the season as it symbolises good luck and joy. Good thing Helix’s colours are all bright red and cheery – we are all ready to welcome the lunar new year!

This year, if the many Peppa and Porky pig decors are not obvious to you yet, is none other than the year of the Pig. The pig though not so lovable in real life – has many redeeming qualities (being bacon and bak kwa is not one of them) which has endeared many to the heart.

These are the three role model pigs who we could possibly learn something from in the year of the pig – in no ‘pigticular’ order.

Three Little Pigs

Smart one who didn’t mind burning more shoe rubber for a long-term game

Not all pigs are born equal – the third little pig in this childhood story is obviously the smarter one. Taking the time to look for more suitable, permanent solutions and settling on bricks which ultimately saved his skin and his brothers.

Shipping is not for the fickle and to succeed is to have staying power.  With the upcoming SuIphur 2020 implementation, Ballast Water Management, etc., shipping is constantly making the industry safer and safer to work in. On the flip side though – owners and managers have to make the decision whether or not to bite the bullet now and invest heavily in scrubbers or switch over to more expensive compliant fuels.

That is just one example, there are many aspects of shipping which can be made more productive and efficient.

  1. With blockchain, to ensure transparent and secure transfer of information
  2. Using drones for inspection and survey
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop predictive analytics for vessel operations

The list is not exhaustive for sure and the sky’s the limit.

My take? There’s no definite right or wrong solution.  I would say make an informed decision. I doubt the third piggy had the benefit of counsel from experienced piggies before him but you do.

Charlotte’s web

Wilbur’s knows the importance of making friends and building a web of friends  

Shipping has always been a close-knit community – go to an industry networking event and chances are you will always see a familiar face.  However, it remains intimidating to outsiders who have no intro to the industry, which is why I think hackathons, that are becoming more and more popular, are a good thing for the industry.

Hackathons are great crowdsourcing tools, encouraging cross industry collaboration and using technology and data to develop ground-up innovation.

A hackathon brings together people from diverse communities to co-create and develop solutions to address challenges affecting the industry. Many in the shipping industry have the mindset – If it ain’t broke, why fix it. But surely things can be better!

Sometimes we just need to take a step back and reframe the problem.  That’s why having friends with a different background and a different set of skills can help us see the challenge from a different point of view.

An important step towards cross industry collaboration is the sharing of data. I wrote in an earlier post that data sharing is important to improve and it is only in this entrepreneurial spirit that the industry can innovate and progress.

Wilbur didn’t save himself.  His network of friends did.


Pumbaa says Hakuna Matata. It means “no worries” and that is the attitude the industry needs to adopt.

Though more of a warthog but it is still a relative of the pig (just don’t call him Mr. Pig) – so he qualifies.

The industry has seen its fair share of gloom and doom for a period of time now (My MD says it’s going to be a challenging 12 months ahead) and if it has hit rock bottom – the only way to go is up.

Attitude is everything and you have the power to choose how you react.  I hold this as one of the guiding values in my life.  When you can’t change your environment, change yourself.

Life is never going to be smooth sailing – our clients who are, leading industry players with great track records, can attest to that. Piracy, trade sanctions, trade wars – these are not going to end.

However, if we view these occurrences as part of a natural course of events, how you choose to interpret the event will be key to your success or defeat.

Will you be flexible to changes or will you resist them? Will you do them willingly or grudgingly?

Take everything in your stride….. and hey…. Hakuna Matata, right?

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