Port of Singapore holds steady amid headwinds

SINGAPORE - The Port of Singapore sustained its performance last year amid weaker-than-expected global economic conditions and significant structural changes in the maritime industry.

Container throughput amounted to 30.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2016, same as in 2015, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 11).

"Singapore port held its volumes steady despite the challenges - the current poor global economic conditions and lower trade volumes, the collapse of Hanjin Shipping and the uncertainty of shifting alliances," it noted.

Total cargo tonnage handled last year rose 3 per cent over 2015 to reach 593.3 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, annual vessel arrival tonnage grew by 6.3 per cent in 2016, reaching 2.66 billion gross tonnes. Container ships, bulk carriers and tankers were the top contributors, each accounting for around 30 per cent of total vessel arrival tonnage.

Singapore also remained the world's top bunkering port last year. The total volume of bunkers sold in the Port of Singapore grew 7.7 per cent to 48.6 million tonnes, compared to 45.2 million tonnes in 2015, said MPA.

Singapore is now home to over 130 international shipping groups and more than 5,000 maritime establishments. The maritime cluster employs more than 170,000 people and contributes some 7 per cent to Singapore's economy.