More help is at hand for the ailing shipping industry, with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) granting bulk carriers a 10 per cent concession on port dues.
The concession, to come into effect on April 15, will be implemented "in view of the current downturn in the shipping industry", the MPA said in a statement yesterday.
It will be available for one year and applicable only to vessels carrying out cargo works with a port stay of not more than five days.
Bulk carriers account for a sizeable proportion of Singapore's total vessel arrival tonnage, at about 30 per cent, with 16,560 bulk carriers making port calls here last year.
The MPA's latest move follows its earlier announcement in January of an additional 10 per cent concession on port dues for container vessels that complete their loading or unloading here within five days.
It came in addition to existing assistance, such as the Green Port Programme incentives and the 20 per cent concession introduced in 1996.
Last November, the port authority also extended concessions for offshore support vessels for one year.
In all, the concessions are expected to yield $18 million in savings for shipping companies over one year, noted the MPA.
It said: "The rollout of these measures demonstrates Singapore's commitment to helping the maritime sector through this challenging time, and its importance in contributing to our economy and creating good jobs for Singaporeans.
"MPA will continue to work closely with our industry partners and stakeholders to support the long-term development of Maritime Singapore."
The dry bulk shipping sector has been hit hard amid sluggish global demand and vessel oversupply, with the Baltic Dry Index, a global benchmark for shipping rates, hitting historic lows in February. It has picked up slightly since.