Harbber Port Marine Pte Ltd

Harbber Port

Name of Recipient:
Mr. N. Nicholas

Established in 1990 as a Sole Proprietor by Mr. N. Nicholas, Harbber Port Marine Pte Ltd is a ship chandler, who also specializes in port agency and marine stockiest services. With 15 to 24 crew members from various nationalities aboard a ship at most times, Harbber Port makes sure to provide essential items for these people on board, which can include items like hardwares and tools, as well as food items for the crew’s sustenance.

For Mr. Nicholas, Harbber Port represents the light at the end of a long and hard road. Previously working in the logistics industry, at one point he felt that everything was lost. He said, “I lost interest, and I lost my tenders. I became jobless, but then the opportunity to establish Harbber Port came. It was simply an opportunity that happened to me, and I took it.”

When Harbber Port Marine first began their operations, Mr. Nicholas realized that he had a tough road ahead of him. “We simply didn’t have money. I had plenty of goals, but those needed financial backing to make happen.”

Fortunately for Mr. Nicholas, the people around him rallied to help, chipping in toward operations and finances. “Our wholesale supplier gave us $1000, and one of our friends helped us to print our invoices. I bought a pager and a typewriter for the office on installment. And from the day we started, which was on March 31st, I was a one man workers, and I delivered everything myself.”

Since then, Harbber Port Marine has had many eventful years. Mr. Nicholas said, “In 1996, we upgraded to became a husbanding agent, where we facilitate crew changes for vassels. We also help ship owners carry out service and repair surveys, as well as deliver items onboard, even cash as well.”

“In 1999 we became a private limited company, and in 2002, we formed a new side company, Ocean Link Logistics, to assist ship owners and provide logistic support, as well as sending vessels and damaged parts for repairs.”

Along the way, Harbber Port was also threatened by various economic situations as well. “In 2008, during the financial crisis, it hurt the shipping industry quite badly. People were losing employment. And in 2012 and 2013, the shipping industry went through quite an upheaval as well. One of our Australian partners, as well as a Japanese partner closed down their company, a New Zealand company sold all their ships as well. As their partner, we were definitely quite affected by this.”

Despite these challenges, Harbber Port managed to survive, and Mr. Nicholas views this as one of his proudest achievements to date. “Throughout the years, we have accumulated many credentials, many compliments. But to stay alive, during that troubling time from 2008-2014, it is an achievement by itself.”

When asked about what makes his company different and unique from the rest, Mr. Nicholas said, “We are constantly seeking out new projects from overseas. For example, India has got great potential to grow, and Harbber Port is a brand that we want to export elsewhere. We are actually opening up a new outlet in Chennai, India, which will gain us exposure to the India market.”

Reflecting on the history of Harbber Port Marine, Mr. Nicholas feels that it has become much harder to succeed as an entrepreneur; service quality and reliability is no longer the deciding factor for clients. “Before, service quality and reliability makes all the difference. But after that, in the last four years I believe, times have changed. You need to be competitive, to be innovative. Therefore, we are striving to reach these standards; we are constantly looking to upgrade ourselves, and improve on our own stocks. If an entrepreneur is not innovative, they should just pack up and go home.”

With an eye on the future, Mr. Nicholas muses that it will take some time for the marine shipping industry to recoup their losses from the last few years. He said, “I think it will take another three years for the ship owners and companies to recover. Also, there’s huge oversupply in the industry right now, so for us, there would not be much majestic growth until 2016.”

However, Mr. Nicholas is planning to go into something new in the meantime. “For us, I think it is time to actually go into ship ownership, which will most likely be with friends and partners from Australia. It is now much cheaper to purchase a ship compared to before, and there is growth to be had in ship ownership.”

With the ability to constantly innovate and seek out new ventures and opportunities, Harbber Port Marine have managed to stay firm as one of the mainstays in the industry while others have faltered. Under the shrewd leadership of Mr. Nicholas, and with the support of his entire team, there are no doubt greater successes ahead in the future for Harbber Port Marine.

Contact Details
13 Kaki Bukit Road 3 #01-12
Bartley Biz Centre S(417807)
T| 6842 3161 / 6742 5575
F| 6842 6744 / 6742 4544
E| harbber@pacific.net.sg


Back to Award Page