Belgium honours corporate chiefs

Belgium honours corporate chiefs
Dr Lee (above) receiving his award from Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders. The award to Dr Lee and Mr Fock recognises their contributions to ties between Singapore and Belgium.

Belgium on Thursday conferred the title of Commander of the Order of the Crown on PSA International's group chairman Fock Siew Wah and Keppel Corporation's chairman Lee Boon Yang.

The Order, bestowed by Belgium's Princess Astrid during a visit to Singapore, recognises the contributions by Mr Fock and Dr Lee to economic cooperation and trade between the two nations.

In the ceremony, Mr Fock, 74, dedicated the honour to PSA's staff in Singapore and Belgium, where the company operates two terminals, in Antwerp and Zeebrugge. PSA had acquired the local port stevedore Hesse-Noord Natie in 2002. As one of PSA's largest investments outside of Singapore, the PSA Antwerp and PSA Zeebrugge terminals handled around eight million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers last year in Belgium.

Mr Fock said Singapore and Belgium face similar challenges, set among bigger neighbouring countries and fast-changing geopolitical and economic paradigms. "Sometimes it's hard for governments to change course, to redirect attention and make fast decisions," Mr Fock said. "There is a future and opportunity - all I ask is for our governments, of Singapore and Belgium as well, to think about having a new mindset, perhaps having a new way of doing things, being more bold and daring in introducing new things into the system so that we can become and continue to be competitive."

Speaking at a separate conferment ceremony, Keppel's Dr Lee, 67, also commended the hard work of his colleagues at Keppel Seghers, an environmental technology company in Belgium that the Singapore group acquired in 2002. The unit's turnover was €106 million (S$172 million) last year.

"The synergy within Keppel Seghers, founded in Belgium and now linked to Singapore, has delivered value and benefited many around the world," Dr Lee said, citing projects in Qatar and China.

This article was first published on Nov 28, 2014.
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