Maritime industry urged to look beyond choppy seas

Singapore's maritime industry will have to think and act both in the short and long term in order to meet the challenges stemming from the global slowdown, said Mr Andrew Tan, chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

His remarks come as the shipping industry grapples with softening global demand, capacity oversupply and depressed freight rates. He told a briefing for the upcoming Singapore Maritime Week yesterday that the industry needs to adjust to a "new normal" of slowing trade growth while preparing itself for the future.

Mr Tan said the industry remains a major pillar of Singapore's economy, contributing about 7 per cent of gross domestic product, with more than 5,000 maritime establishments here. "At the end of the day, we want to make sure Maritime Singapore emerges stronger out of this cycle."

The Singapore Maritime Week, from April 17 to 22, aims to address the ways Singapore can maintain its competitive advantage on a global scale, given the choppy industry conditions.

It will feature 31 events, including 16 new ones, ranging from dialogues and forums to social events and public showcases.

The anchor event is the Singapore Maritime Lecture on April 18. It will be given by Mr Kristian Siem, chairman of industrial holding group Siem Industries, and followed by a panel discussion with other prominent industry leaders.

The 2nd Offshore Marine Forum, jointly organised by Seatrade and Singapore Maritime Foundation, will run on April 19. It will involve discussions with leaders of the offshore industry.

Members of the public will be able to tour two high-technology offshore support vessels berthed at the waterfront promenade of VivoCity at the OSV@Vivo event from April 21 to 23.

Mr Tan said: "Given the uncertain market outlook, Singapore Maritime Week 2016 will be about sharpening competitiveness in the industry by addressing the economic challenges and identifying unexplored areas for growth.

"By creating awareness, building interest in the sector and enhancing understanding vis-a-vis our line-up of events, we hope to foster a stronger, more cohesive maritime community that will weather the headwinds and be well-positioned for growth opportunities that are inevitable when the tide turns."

More information and the full calendar of events for the Singapore Maritime Week are available at www.smw.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Maritime industry urged to look beyond choppy seas'. Print Edition | Subscribe