Phinehas Tan

Assistant Vice President (Pasir Panjang Terminal 1)
Phinehas Tan, Assistant Vice President (Pasir Panjang Terminal 1)
"No problem is too big to solve as long as you have a plan, stay agile and be able to innovate and adapt solutions to evolving situations."

How did you get into your current line of work?

I was always interested in maths and the sciences, and a visit to PSA’s terminals during my schooling years left a deep impression on the scale and complexity of operations. The idea of being part of an organisation that deeply entrenches Singapore’s global connections was also very attractive. So when a scholarship opportunity came up towards the end of my national service, I excitedly said “Yes!” as PSA is a leading global player and plays a pivotal role in Singapore’s economy.

After graduation, I joined PSA’s engineering team which planned and designed our future container terminals, as well as ensuring high reliability for the quay cranes. I was able to apply the knowledge gained in University to analyse equipment failures and improve processes.

The industry then and now

Over the years, PSA has ventured beyond the port into complementary port solutions and integrated systems on a digital platform, developing cargo solutions that orchestrate the global supply chain. PSA is also driving rapid digital transformation and developing innovative cargo solutions to enhance supply chain reliability and efficiency.

Throughout my 16-year career, I have witnessed these changes and the impact it has on the logistics and supply chain industry. Through meticulous planning, the business has transformed and management inspired employees by presenting a compelling vision for the future.

What made me choose to be a leader?

PSA nurtures young graduates by providing them an immersive experience in picking up the nuts and bolts of day-to-day operations, before giving them the opportunities to apply their learning, fix problems and improve processes.

Throughout my time in PSA, I have worked with many industry leaders who have demonstrated integrity, decisiveness and drive for results. These are qualities which I have strived to emulate in my own work. I have experienced that the best results come when there is trust and empowerment in the team, while being focused towards common goals. I am glad that PSA has built up a supportive and nurturing culture across all teams.

What I enjoy most about my job

As a leader, I am accountable for the decisions that are crucial to the success of my department. I enjoy the process where my strategic action plans lead to tangible results. Working across different teams, I appreciate the diverse viewpoints and inputs to help forecast business and operations outlook.

I enjoy coaching young executives and feel a sense of accomplishment when they grow professionally in their careers.

Essential skills

To me, it is essential to be logical in our thought processes and to reflect on lessons learnt from past mistakes. No problem is too big to solve as long as you have a plan, stay agile and be able to innovate and adapt solutions to evolving situations.

In addition, you should appreciate and recognise the contributions of your teammates so that they are aligned to the common goal.

Advice for graduates

Be Positive, Positive to make the best out of any situation, Persistent because the best work often is not the first draft, but something which is refined over time and Pro-active not just in initiating actions, but to be in asking, probing and seeking clarifications when in doubt.