Singapore’s maritime sector recorded good growth in 2013

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Singapore’s maritime sector recorded good growth in 2013 as the global economy recovers, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Tuesday.

According to its advance estimates, annual vessel arrival tonnage and container and cargo throughput both hit record high last year.

The annual vessel arrival tonnage reached 2.33 billion gross tonnes last year, up 3.2 per cent from 2012, while container and cargo throughput was up 2.9 per cent on-year to 32.6 million standard-size containers in 2013.

557.5 million tonnes of cargo was handled by the port last year — up 3.6 per cent on-year.

Singapore kept its position as the the world’s top bunkering port, despite bunker sales dipping from 42.7 million tonnes in 2012 to 42.5 million tonnes last year.MPA said the total tonnage of ships under the Singapore Registry of Ships grew 13.2 per cent in 2013.

As of the end of December 2013, there were 73.6 million gross tonnes of ships under the Singapore flag, making Singapore as one of the top 10 ship registries globally.

MPA added that Singapore is now home to some 130 shipping groups.

The maritime cluster employs over 170,000 workers and contributes about seven per cent to Singapore’s economy.

Speaking at the annual Singapore Maritime Foundation’s (SMF) New Year reception, Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew said 2013 was a challenging year as shipping companies grapple with high energy costs and overcapacity.

He said shipping companies need to continue to reposition themselves to stay competitive.

Mr Lui said that as a maritime hub, Singapore must face up to challenges in the industry. He said: “Our advance estimates show that Singapore’s container throughput for 2013 grew by 2.9 per cent to reach another record high of 32.6 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit).”

“We did not quite close the gap with Shanghai, but I think we pulled ahead of those in third and fourth places behind us. We maintained our position as one of the world’s busiest port by vessel arrival tonnage with 2.33 billion gross tonnes (GT), an increase of 3.2 per cent from 2012.

“Singapore also remained the world’s top bunkering port with more than 42 million tonnes in total bunker sales last year, probably double that of the port that is in second position.”

Mr Lui added: “On the back of rising economic optimism, many in the shipping world are adopting a cautious outlook for 2014. The government takes a long-term view and remains committed to developing this key pillar of our economy. We will continue to strengthen our port infrastructure, with the opening of the Pasir Panjang Terminal Phase 3 later this year.

“We will also continue to sharpen our maritime policies to keep them relevant. Most importantly, we will ensure that our maritime workforce is well prepared to meet the industry’s current and future needs.”

For example, the MPA is working with schools and industry partners to grow local maritime talent.

Mr Lui also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the SMF, the MPA and the Singapore Scout Association to establish a Youth Maritime Advisory Board to promote maritime awareness and youth outreach.

At the event, four leaders in the maritime industry were also appointed to the board of the SMF.

They are:

Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA
Andreas, Sohmen-Pao, CEO of BW Maritim
Tan Puay Hin, regional CEO of Southeast Asia at PSA International
Lee Keng Mun, head of shipping Asia at HSH Nordbank AG

SMF Chairman Michael Chia was re-appointed, along with five other board members, while two members — Erik Borgen and Lam Yi Young — will be leaving the board.

Source : Channel News Asia | January 8, 2014

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