Widdows is 2009 recipient of Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award

Singapore, 17 November, 2009: Ronald D. Widdows, the President and CEO of Singapore-based container shipping and logistics group, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) last week was named an "Admiral of the Ocean Seas", one of the shipping’s industry’s top awards.

At a gala ceremony in New York City, Mr Widdows received the prestigious award, conferred by the United Seamen’s Service. The citation recognised his contribution to the maritime sector over a period of decades and described him as a leading voice on transport public policy issues, as well as acknowledging the contribution of the NOL’s container shipping arm, APL, to key innovations throughout the history of containerised transportation.

In presenting the award, former United States Secretary of Transportation Mr Norman Mineta commended Mr Widdows' work in alerting policy-makers to the pressing need to invest in infrastructure and the strain on intermodal capacity due to increasing trade volumes.

The 67-year-old United Seamen’s Service, which has sponsored the award for 40 years, provides social, professional and health services to merchant mariners around the globe.

Mr Widdows said: “Receiving the Admiral of the Ocean Seas award ranks among the highlights of my career. It’s recognition for my company as a whole from people at the heart of the industry, who are passionate about shipping.”

"It represents the appreciation of our industry peers for the work we do to enable global trade to flourish."

Mr Widdows and his company are known as industry innovators. He was, for example, part of the APL team that has been credited with pioneering major aspects of the intermodal transport system that today underpins world trade.

Addressing 700 government, maritime and international trade leaders, Mr Widdows also took the opportunity to highlight the great challenges that the shipping industry continues to face.

“These are difficult days for our great industry,” said Mr Widdows. “The unprecedented collapse in global trade flows over the past year has placed tremendous strain on the economics of container shipping, to a degree that is simply not sustainable.”

Mr Widdows said that major structural changes to the industry were underway and even the strongest carriers were under extreme pressure to maintain service standards for the world’s leading importers and exporters.

"While the world is in a pretty difficult place for the foreseeable future, it may well be on the road to recovery. The path forward to recovery for our industry will be longer than we would like, but during times of challenge opportunities also present themselves," he said.

Mr Widdows also urged a refocusing on the need for increased investment in freight transportation infrastructure. He said that the huge economic stimulus packages launched in response to the global financial crisis offered a unique, but as yet untaken, opportunity to increase funding of projects critical to the free flow of trade.

“The vital need for improved infrastructure must be addressed before it is too late. Otherwise, companies who import and export will be less competitive in the face of poorly developed rails, roads and ports,” said Mr Widdows. “Eventually, that has implications for the viability of their supply chains, which in turn will have a negative impact on the economy of the US.”

About NOL

Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) is a Singapore-based global container shipping, terminals and logistics company. Its container shipping arm, APL, provides world-class container shipping services and intermodal operations supported by leading-edge IT and e-commerce. Its terminals unit has one of the world's leading container terminal networks, with key gateway facilities in Asia and North America. Its logistics business, APL Logistics, provides international, end-to-end logistics services and solutions, employing the latest IT and data connectivity for maximum supply chain visibility and control. NOL Web site: www.nol.com.sg

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