Enter Africa from Singapore

Enter Africa from Singapore


“Welcome to invest into Guinea with funds, technologies, and most importantly, friendship!” said Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, with appreciation and admiration, and shook hands with Sun Xiushun, President of Winning International Group. President Alpha Condé just received the key from Sun Xiushun to the medical station constructed under the assistance of Winning. Nearly 3000 villagers from 190 villages singing and dancing under the scorching sun in Africa were extending their thanks to this Singapore-based entrepreneur in the utmost decorum. Sun Xiushun, a Chinese who has succeeded in Singapore, is exploring African bauxite resources. Starting by sea freight and travelling all over the world is the best portrayal of his life.

When the reporter met Sun Xiushun in his sea view office at Shenton Way, he just came back from the West Africa. The Shandong-born robust man slightly appeared tired due to the long flight of tens of thousands of kilometers, despite of which, the excitement in entrepreneurship overflowed from his words, “Although the transportation there is not convenient enough, Africa, indeed, is a land of treasure to be explored!” It is not an easy task for him to take a trip to Africa since there is not direct flight between Singapore and Guinea, which requires to take a connecting flight in Paris, consuming almost a whole day without any delay on the way. On top of that, due to the poor infrastructure facilities, no direct flights are arranged between any two African countries. As a result, one has to fly over the Africa continent for about a day even if one takes a direct flight from Singapore, as an intermediate stop, to an Africa country.

Create Miracles in Guinea

On March 2nd, 2018, the Winning Integrity, a vessel transporting the first batch of materials for constructing the Boké port in Guinea, was loaded at Yantai Port and successfully departed, marking that construction of the wharf within the port has begun. This project is jointly invested and established by Yantai Port Group Co., Ltd, Hongqiao Investment (Hong Kong) Limited, Winning Logistics Africa Co., and Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB), in which Winning takes 35% shares.

For this project, 2 bauxite berths and supporting belt-conveyor load line, and 1 heavy-lift berth are proposed, with a designed throughout capacity of 10 million tons/year. That is to say, in the next 3 years, about 30 million tons of bauxite will be transported to China by Winning fleet of ships through this port each year. “On the basis of this designed capacity, it is estimated that one vessel will be unloaded at Yantai Port every 10 days!” As Chinese No.1 port for bauxite import, Yantai Port witnessed a throughput of over 70 million tons in 2013 and a market share of over 68.5%.

 “It is about 15,000 kilometers from Guinea to Yantai Port by sea, why did you exploit and transport mines from so far a distance?” The reporter asked.

 “Because government of Indonesia began to restrict bauxite export last year, Yantai Port bauxite import in 2014 decreased sharply, but its market share continued to rise to 77.3%. To proactively respond to the export restriction from Indonesian government, Winning, Yantai Port and Weiqiao Pioneering Group jointly formed a consortium to prospect mines in Guinea, finding ores there are high in grade, shallowly buried, and near to an inland river that directly flows to the sea, which guarantees convenient transport”, said Sun Xiushun pointing at the large world map behind him, “Of course, we did not either lose Indonesian market. We have constructed two smelting plants in which bauxite are processed to semi-products and then from which delivered to China. “

Boké port construction is a critical step for the consortium to build a whole-process logistics chain and has developed at a high speed from the end of 2014. In November, 2014, the first batch of construction staff of consortium went to Guinea for early work such as measuring and prospection. During the 2015 Spring Festival, 8 among the staff stayed at their positions instead of going back for family reunion. On February 27th, 2015, the project’s advance team of 6 members flew to Guinea again. “We have a Chinese technical staff of 300 who work on the site day and night, with a salary three times of the amount they earned in China. On July 20th, Boké port use will be available with a basic and simple production condition!” explained Sun.

The Strategic plan of “One Belt, One Road” proposed by Chinese government creates an unprecedented development environment worldwide. By collaborating with partners based in China, I am convinced that Winning will play its advantages in sea freight, make desirable contribution and achieve certain value. And the African project is just a best embodiment in this regard. “.

As a Singapore-based business, Winning Group and the consortium participates in attach high importance to corporate social responsibility when exploiting African resources, and establish the relationship between enterprise and communities with a thinking model of “top-level design”. The port construction work will produce over 3000 work position for local youth, who are preferred during our recruitment. The Koutougouma medical station mentioned above is constructed with the assistance of Winning Alliance Ports SA (WAP), which granted 500,000 US dollars, occupies 450 square meters and includes two diagnostic rooms, one lab, one wards, one pharmacy, one break room, one delivery room, and a small trauma emergency room.

Sun Xiushun presented a proudness of working miracles. “We will construct a coal-fired power plant here and the coal will be delivered from Indonesia with our vessels. To meet the daily consumption needs of our staff, the return vessels will also carry living goods to Guinea, which will possibly turn this place into Yiwu of Africa.” With the great investment, Sun Xiushun has won the high appreciation from President of Guinean: “This has indeed created a truly first-class mining mode, which has never been seen in Guinea before!”

From A Seaman to President

Although he worked in sea shipping for only over ten years, Sun Xiushun has won the high recognition and appreciation in this community. “He is one of the few businessmen who can make such great achievements in so short a time!” was founded in Hong Kong to provide sea logistics for alumina producers to import materials. To be more close to Indonesian mining enterprises and build a bridge between Chinese and Indonesia companies, in 2016, it was moved to Singapore and began to provide comprehensive logistics solutions. In 2010, Winning International Group was formally established in Singapore and integrated Winning Shipping’s core businesses, such as ship chartering, ship owner, ship management, resource development and trading services, etc.

In 1980s, the 20-year-old Sun Xiushun who just graduated from the ship driving major of Nanjing Seaman Technical School, was distributed to serve Qingdao Ocean Shipping Co., Ltd. Since then, he worked on the sea for 8 years, which forged his strong will. Sun Xiushun did the best in all duties as a sailor. Among the schoolmates who worked as sailors after graduation, only Sun Xiushun became the general manager of a large group. “In 1985, when our ship drew alongside in Singapore, despite of the only one day for staying there, I was deeply impressed by this island country,” the Singapore citizen, Sun Xiushun said to the reporter while looking at the splendid view on Singapore Strait with a heavy traffic due to so many ships.

In 1992, Qingdao Ocean Shipping dispatched Sun Xiushun from sea to land department, which commenced a new phase of career for him and gave him the opportunities to get engaged in shipping operation, such as how to solicit cargo, how to expand market, how to contact ports and cargo owners, and how to dispatch ships, etc. Thus, he further experienced the joy and hardships accompanied with ocean shipping. Since then, he has resolved to be dedicate to this industry.

10 years later, that was 2012, Sun Xiushun boldly stepped onto an important stage of his life by resigning the well-paid job in this state-owned-enterprise and creating his own business. After founding Winning Shipping in Hong Kong, he provided freight services for cargo owners as a freight broker initially and gradually made his first fortune.

In 2006, when he just relocated to Singapore, Sun Xiushun owned no ship at all. However, Winning owns fifteen 50,000 ton or higher Capesize ships and controls 50 ships on average, having secured a critical position in the resource transportation shipping lines from Indonesia to China. The Group transports soil mineral, iron ores, nickel ores, alumina, coals and equipment for plant construction. Its carrying volume was increased from 3 million tons in 2004 to 30 million tons in 2012, with an increase of ten times. Shipping routes traveled through by the Group cover not only Asia-Pacific but also as far as South America, Africa and North America.

Class Monitor Sun’s Secret to Success

In addition to his reputation as a general manager of a group, Sun Xiushun is also the “class monitor Sun” of Asia-Pacific EMBA class 19 at NUS Business School. Through the learning experience at NUS, Sun Xiushun has further realized the importance of “innovation”. In his opinion, innovation is an essential element for each company’s operation and the foundation for sustainable development, and innovation comes from daily observations and thinking.

In Sun’s office, there lies a model of grab ship unloader which is treated by him as a kind of standard. At the end of 2004, Sun Xiushun made a bold proposal to Indonesian consignors to expand loading sites from docks to anchorages so as to avoid problems such as vessel grounding, loading and unloading limitation. This proposal has hugely increased Indonesian bauxite export, rapidly enhanced efficiency and lowered ocean shipping cost. Through observations and studies, Sun Xiushun decided to customize another 14 ship grab unloaders, which were transported from China to Indonesia’s anchorages for loading purpose. After that, his ship leasing scope was expanded and cargo volume increased. Through practices and trials, Sun Xiushun also introduced floating cranes to load cargos at anchorages and improved traditional loading process, which have tremendously increased loading efficiency and lowered ocean shipping cost.  This is an important breakthrough made in the Group’s course of operation.

The 2008 financial tsunami caused worldwide economic decline and directly affected global freight volume. In this context, China’s ocean shipping needs got shrunken, resulting in dramatic drop of shipping price. Many consignees in China stopped bauxite import and plenty of small and medium-sized shipping companies absconded with money one after another, leaving the shipping market in a depression.

After evaluating the international situation, Sun Xiushun immediately formed an alliance with Indonesian consignors, without collecting freight and cargo price, to keep the minimum production of mines and make full use of labors to transport bauxite to China, and store them in bonded area at China customs. On one hand, this action avoided the waste of transportation capacity and reduced cargo overstock at loading ports; On the other hand, placing cargos in bonded area made active preparation for later economic recovery. This strategy kept the company harmless from excessive economics loss caused by the economic crisis and also promoted Winning Group’s regulation and goodwill in the field, paving a sound foundation for the subsequent booming.

2007 was a gold year while 2008 was a crisis for international shipping industry. International trade was hit hard and supply of cargo vessels was severely greater than demand. But each crisis always expects opportunities coming. After the 2008 crisis, market price for ocean-going ships was collapsed, some from over 100 million US dollars to as low as 20 million, or over 50 million US dollars to less than 10 million. Many ships owned by Winning International now were purchased at that time at extremely low prices.

Besides personal wisdom and the team’s efforts, Sun Xiushun’s success owed to this piece of land – Singapore. He told the reporter with earnest, “The advantageous geographical location bestows Singapore with natural competitiveness and the great supports from local government and industrial associations also provide fertile soils for the creation and development of shipping businesses. The past years experienced by Winning witnessed that this is indeed a golden place for developing shipping business.”

In April, 2013, Winning received MSI-AIS award from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Along with the tax reduction and exemption on freight fees, good performance and excellent contribution made by Winning has also won the special recognition of Singapore authorities.

(Retrived from Fortune Times, reported by Lang Jia)