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Exclusive Interview 

Mr. Chan Bak Chua

Founder, Kenoil Marine Services

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"Can, can... Kenoil"

Kenoil’s founder, Mr. Chan Bak Chua, fondly nicknamed “Ah Chua” by his peers recall that his friends were behind the naming of his company Kenoil Marine Services (“Kenoil”).

“I was formerly from the construction industry where I spent the first half of my working life. It was during the 1990s, that I was given the opportunity to invest in a bunkering company, an industry which was totally new to me. It was a good learning experience but we parted ways due to a disagreement.

“It was in year 2000 that I decided to establish my own bunkering company. As I was known to be a very agreeable person and with my very limited English vocabulary, I always responded ‘Can!’ to most requests put to me. As a result, my friends gave me a new nickname 'Ken Chua' and suggested my company to be named Kenoil.”

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Kenoil Marine Services had a very modest beginning with just two second-hand wooden barges  - SB239 and SB240 of about 100-DWT each. When one of them sank, a 250-DWT SB274 joined the fleet.


As anyone would know, being an entrepreneur especially in the bunkering industry can be fraught with problems.

Mr. Chan shared, “Kenoil is a small-scale SME faced with fuel supply and cashflow problems. We are always worried that our customers are not able to pay or do not pay on time, which would cascade to us not having the financial standing to carry on our business.

“But I have to count my blessings that despite the stiff competition, regulatory changes and industry downturns, Kenoil remained debt free. I am very proud and contented that we have been profitable, with improvements year after year.

“Kenoil commerates its 20th anniversary this year. We have remained upright and trustworthy in the way we conduct our business. My longstanding customers will know that I am a man of my word. 

“I thank all of the many Kenoil customers who have extended goodwill, support and friendship to me over the years. Our business would not be what it is without their support.

"It is fitting that I announce my retirement from Kenoil at age 68 and passing the baton to the new owners and management team headed by a very capable Desmond Chong. I wish them every success and will be encouraging our customers to continue supporting the new team and their refreshing new ideas,” Mr. Chan concluded. 

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