SINGAPORE - The pioneering generation - with their determination and entrepreneurial spirit - made the difference in Singapore's development as a leading international maritime centre, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.
"They overcame overwhelming challenges like poor and outdated equipment, lack of training, and even a port strike some 60 years ago, and laid a firm foundation stone by stone," said Mr Lui.
He was speaking at the Singapore International Maritime Awards at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Tuesday evening.
He singled out three industry players who have played a vital role in growing Maritime Singapore, including Pacific Carriers, one of the oldest shipping companies here; Mr chairman of Pacific International Lines (PIL) Teo Woon Tiong; and Mr Olav Thorstensen, executive chairman of Thome Group.
"Today, we face a different set of challenges," added Mr Lui, pointing to the rapid technological shifts, such as the emergence of megavessels, an industry-wide manpowe crunch, and the need to tighten environmental regulations.
"Nonetheless, I am confident that we will continue to do well if we continue to embrace the same undaunted, can-do spirit, faith and commitment to Singapore that our pioneers displayed."
Mr Teo, also widely known as YC Chang, was among 11 industry partners honoured for their contributions at the awards.
He received the prestigious International Maritime Centre (Individual) Award.
Other winners included BP Singapore, Swire Pacific Offshore Operations, Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre, and Sembcorp Marine.
The biennial awards, organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, was held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week, which runs until Friday.