ISSUE #57 –Interview with Didier Grataloup, Managing Director, CW Singapore
CW Singapore handles procurement and logistics services for companies in the Oil & Gas, petrochemicals, and construction industries, including market information, inspection, expediting and financial mechanism. It also provides OEM parts, GSE, airport equipment and repair stations capabilities to key players in the aeronautic industry, such as Boeing and Airbus. CW is the representative office in Singapore and Malaysia of HAROPA, Grand Port Maritime du Havre.
It was vital to establish a procurement and logistic company in Singapore, already a big “industrial supermarket” then
WHEN WAS CW SINGAPORE PTE LTD ESTABLISHED IN SINGAPORE AND WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DID YOU SEE IN SINGAPORE?
CW Singapore Pte Ltd was activated in Singapore in 1982.
At the time, we were securing contracts from Indonesia to procure construction material, equipment and spares to various French civil contractors (including Dumez, Technip, Spie Batignolle, SAE, and Sainrapt et Brice) and sourcing of these items in Indonesia was difficult due to high import taxes and poor facilities. Communication was a nightmare.
It was therefore vital to establish a procurement and logistic company in Singapore, already a big “industrial supermarket” then, as well as a logistic platform with state-of-the-art telecommunications, which, at that time, meant having proper telephone and telex lines. Emails were, of course, non-existent and even fax machines appeared a few years later, at astronomical prices. I acquired mine in 1986 and could only communicate with one client in Indonesia… It was the time when local calls were absolutely free of charge throughout the whole of Singapore, a revolution for us coming from France or Indonesia!
We were also eyeing the future MRT and HDB projects where French companies were quite successfully active like Campenon Bernard, SAE, and GTM.
HAS YOUR COMPANY NAME EVOLVED FROM ITS FIRST YEAR HERE TO TODAY?
No, our name has been CW Singapore Pte Ltd since our incorporation. I am often asked “what does CW mean?” jokingly reply that for our clients it means “Connected Worldwide”, for our bankers “Cash and Wealth”, and for our employees “Care and Worry”, but it could simply means “Charlie Wong”…
In fact, I have no idea. We bought this company “over the shelf” at a lawyer’s practice and activated it within 24 hours as we needed a legal entity to place our orders with suppliers and invoice our clients. That is yet another example of the pro-business environment that was already an integral part of Singapore.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY PROJECTS YOU HAVE COMPLETED IN SINGAPORE?
Like many companies based in Singapore, our main market is not Singapore but rather regional markets like Southeast and Central Asia. However, some key projects were successfully completed in Singapore over the years…
For our Oil & Gas department:
Natural gas onshore receiving facility in Jurong Island for Sembcorp Gas Pte Ltd (2010-2011);
Natural gas onshore receiving facility for Keppel Energy (2006-2007);
Natural gas ultrasonic metering system with separators, analyser and odoriser for Keppel Gas Pte Ltd (2005-2006);
Natural gas onshore receiving facility for SENOKO power station (2002-2003).
For our Airport division:
Check-in islands and immigration counters for Changi Airport Terminal 1 (2001-2002);
Check-in islands and immigration counters for Changi Airport Terminal 3 (2005-2008);
Photometric calibration of Changi and Seletar Airports airfield lightings.
Top – Natural onshore gas receiving facility in Jurong Island for Sembcorp Gas, with materials and equipment procured by CW Singapore
Bottom: Check-in islands and immigration counters at Changi Airport Terminal 1 supplied in 2001 and 2002 by CW Singapore
Interview published in the FOCUS Magazine “SG50” – May 2015