PSA story parallels Singapore Story

I READ Monday's commentary ("42 years, 500 million TEU containers, one PSA") and yesterday's reports ("Port's success anchored on workers' tireless efforts: PM Lee" and "Pasir Panjang Terminal's $3.5b expansion kicks off") with great pride.

As with Changi Airport, PSA is one of our great success stories, and successful Singapore exports have put this little red dot on the world map, making Singapore a juggernaut of a force to be respected and reckoned with.

PSA's success has not been without its trials and tribulations.

The loss of major Danish customer Maersk in 2000, then Taiwanese shipper Evergreen Marine in 2002, to Malaysia's Port of Tanjung Pelepas, for instance, were major blows for PSA.

Subsequently, under the leadership and vision of Mr Stephen Lee, PSA underwent painful but necessary restructuring to trim overheads to emerge leaner and meaner, so as to be able to continue to forge ahead.

In many ways, the PSA story parallels the Singapore Story.

It involved the wisdom to craft clever stratagems and build relationships, and the courage to make hard decisions; steely leadership embodied by men and women who made those hard decisions; and triumphing over seemingly insurmountable odds, as well as a wide range of other adversarial factors.

As we celebrate SG50, it is indeed a fitting tribute for us to celebrate PSA's successes as well.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'PSA story parallels Singapore Story'. Print Edition | Subscribe