Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore intern Candace slides into the RightShip way of life

As her internship with RightShip drew to a close, we caught up with National University of Singapore student Candace Tan to find out more about her experiences over the last three months – and the unexpected highs and lows of her trip to London.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m in my final year at the National University of Singapore, specialising in Finance and Management & Organisation. I’m not quite sure where I want to focus my career yet, so over the years I’ve taken part in a few other internships. My most recent ones were with the Singapore Exchange doing equities research. Then I enjoyed another with a start-up called Dollars and Sense. Both these experiences involved an aspect of writing about finance - focusing on the stock market and personal finance respectively.

When I spotted the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Global Internship Award (MPA GIA), I thought to myself ‘this would be a really good opportunity to link the big picture together’ using the skills I’d already built. As a strategy and partnership intern that’s been exactly what has happened.

What kind of tasks did you take on at RightShip?

I thought I might be siloed with one team – but within my first two weeks I had a great orientation meeting, with one person from each department, which gave me lots of different perspectives. Everyone was very supportive as coming into an entirely new sector could seem intimidating. But I was given realistic targets to work to – a bit of handholding when I needed it and the encouragement that maybe I could bring a new perspective.

I was assigned to three different projects. The first was a piece of work on liner shipping in the container industry, where vessels ran on a schedule. RightShip's current customers are mainly focused on tramp shipping (running on no set schedule) but now we are trying to understand more about liner shipping to see if it’s an area where we could offer support.

I’ve was also tasked with examining the potential for RightShip to expand into the Middle East, looking at the trends and companies concentrated in that area.

Finally, I’ve done a focused piece of work on RightShip’s Maritime Emissions Portal – looking at global customers who would benefit from it, and how to expand that product. For example, what are the other natural next steps for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) measurement within a ports and terminals space?

An internship is only three months – how have you found working in maritime? Do you think you’ll stick with the sector in the future?

To date I’ve always been very focused on finance and business, but I hadn’t really thought about which sector I would be applying those skills within. Everything fell into place when I came here, as it’s been really interesting. I’m not sure if that’s indicative of the entire maritime industry or just RightShip, as the emphasis on ESG really appeals to me too. I take comfort in knowing I am likely not doing harm, in fact, I could be doing something that results in changes for good.

I’m not sure it’s recognised in the wider world that shipping is in fact one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transport there is - with opportunities to become even better.

I’ve got friends who did their internships with ship brokers and other maritime organisations - they must work fixed hours, they have to go to an office, whereas RightShip though extremely organised, is much more flexible and trusting, allowing me to allocate my own time within the working day.

It also seems quite an adventurous space, I’ve met a broad spectrum of people, many of them with the seafaring explorers’ spirit. I feel that feeds into how RightShip functions - like a start-up, with that agility, energy and technology focus, but because of the experience of the employees it has longevity too.

What have been your favourite things about visiting the UK?

Something that was not so much fun was catching Covid! I slept a lot for the extra week that I stayed, but also worked where I could, attending a few meetings here and there. RightShip were brilliant and really looked after me, I appreciated them checking in and making sure my accommodation and travel was dealt with and comfortable.

There were also plenty of good things to balance it out too! In no particular order:

  • I tried halloumi for the first time, with my colleagues in London.
  • I visited Oxford, loads of museums and shops in London and went to Brighton beach for fish and chips and a walk on the pier.
  • I also went to the Tower of London and saw a beautiful display of British wildflowers and insects and slid down a giant slippery dip into the moat!

It’s not every day you get to slide into a royal palace! It’s definitely been an experience I won’t forget in a hurry.