Pacific International Lines, or PIL, is a Singapore-based international shipping company. It is the 17th largest shipping company in the world. The company is mostly focused on container shipping, but includes other services, including container manufacturing. The fleet consists of 153 ships and the company employs more than 18,000 people and serves more than 500 locations around the world.
Container shipping is an important industry for modern commerce and is responsible for transporting much of the world’s goods. It is also a dangerous industry, though, and PIL, like other maritime companies has to be responsible for making work environments safe for employees and ensuring their ships do not contaminate the environment. This doesn’t always happen and PIL has been through a number of incidents that caused damage and harm. Any workers injured in these accidents have a right to seek compensation.
Pacific International Lines was founded in Singapore in 1967 as a coastal ship operator and ship owner and has grown since then into a leading international shipping and transport company. While PIL ships ply routes all over the world, the company’s main focus is on routes between Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. PIL ships also go to New Zealand and Australia, India, Latin America, Europe, the Black Sea, and North America.
PIL operates out of a few key ports, including locations in Southeast Asia, Eastern India, on the Bay of Bengal, in the Pacific Islands, and on both the east and west coasts of Africa. In addition to shipping and a focus on containers, PIL offers logistical services, container manufacturing, ship recycling, intermodal services, supply chain management, and consolidation and distribution facilities.
PIL was founded in Singapore, newly independent, in March of 1967. The early company was founded by Chang Yun Chung and just ten shareholders with two former Dutch vessels, renamed the Kota Singa and Kota Naga. The company’s first liner services were to Bangkok in Thailand, and Jakarta in Indonesia. The first international office for PIL was in Jakarta.
The company began containerizing with its first container ship acquired in 1981. It was called the Seahawk. In 1989 PIL continued its commitment to container shipping by starting manufacturing services at its first factory in Shanghai. Full container services began not long after with routes throughout Southeast Asia and then to Sri Lanka and ports on the Red Sea.
By 2004 PIL was offering service to Europe and across the Pacific to Canada and then the U.S. Most recently the company expanded its services to cover ports in Africa, starting with Mozambique. Today the company serves most continents and has included services to the west coast of South America.
Fleet and Operations
PIL has a large fleet of vessels, mostly made up of container ships. Container service is the main focus of the company’s operations. PIL container ships, whose names always begin with Kota are seen around the world, traversing routes to nearly every continent and much of Oceana. With a specialty in making and shipping with containers the company can also handle specialized cargo, like over-sized, over-weight, and dangerous cargo.
Another important part of PIL’s operations is the manufacturing of containers. PIL’s division called Singamas makes containers and is the second largest manufacturer of them in the world. All of the factories used to make the containers are located in China. The company produces a variety of specialized containers including refrigerated containers, tank containers, and U.S. domestic containers.
Working in the maritime industry is risky and when maritime companies don’t take responsibility for safety, workers can and do get hurt. Accidents are not uncommon in this industry, some occurring out at sea, others in busy ports and still others on land. PIL’s Singamas container manufacturing division experienced one such accident damaged its depots and left on worker dead.
The incident occurred at the Port of Tianjin in China, the tenth largest container terminal in the world. An explosion at a chemical storage area killed over 100 people and caused a lot of damage. Singamas containers were damaged, but even worse one employee went missing in the blast and was likely killed during the incident. Other employees of Singamas were injured because of the blast.
Although these kinds of incidents can happen in ports, most of the usual danger in the maritime industry occurs out at sea where workers are on large ships. PIL has experienced a few accidents at sea, including a 2014 incident in which its ship the Kota Duta collided with another ship in waters off of Japan. The cause seemed to be some kind of human error as the master of each ship communicated to each other and agreed to a maneuver that would prevent a collision, but didn’t follow through. Later investigations found that PIL crew members did not act correctly in the incident and likely needed better training.
Another accident occurred in 2014 when the Kota Wajar collided with a yacht in the waters of Moreton Bay. An investigation found that, although visibility was clear, no one on board either vessel saw the other one coming. Both had failed to keep a proper lookout, which if they had done, could have prevented the collision. The yacht suffered more damage, but luckily remained seaworthy and no one was hurt.
Rights for Injured Maritime Workers
Accidents like these are all too common in the maritime industry, but every maritime company has a responsibility to try to prevent them. In the collision incidents with PIL ships described here, there was a failure on the part of the ships’ crew members. Ultimately this is a failure of the company, which is responsible for training employees.
When ships have accidents at sea workers may be hurt. In some instances they may even be killed. If a maritime job leaves you injured, you need to know that you have rights under maritime law. This set of laws allows you to seek compensation for your injuries and a maritime lawyer can help you figure out how to get it.