Maritime industry must stay on the right side of change

I was proud to find out that Singapore had once again performed outstandingly in the maritime field (Singapore is world's top maritime capital - again; April 27).

I attended Sea Asia 2017, Asia's anchor maritime and offshore event, last week and heard many participants singing the praises of our capabilities in the areas of shipping, finance, law, maritime technology, ports and logistics, as well as of our attractiveness and competitiveness.

Singapore's efforts are obviously paying off.

But there is no resting on our laurels just yet.

We have to take our capabilities to the next level, especially with the digital transformation of the industry that is taking place around the world.

There is also the matter of driving innovation and productivity and ensuring our local maritime workforce has the necessary skills to take on higher value-added jobs.

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, touched on this at the opening of Sea Asia.

He made it clear that Singapore's port and maritime industry needs to gear up to deal with digitalisation and disruption of global transport supply chains (Staying afloat as industry changes; April 26).

It is even more critical for us, as the world's largest container transhipment hub, to ride with the changes.

The lines between e-commerce, shipping and supply chains are blurring, and Singapore has to ensure it is on the right side of the dividing line and benefiting from it.

Being ready for the transformation that is coming about inevitably means moving faster than most in order to stay ahead of the rivalry that is emerging in the region and worldwide.

But it would seem that Singapore is ready and prepared to take on the latest challenges and reap the rewards that come with them.

Manoraj Rajathurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2017, with the headline 'Maritime industry must stay on the right side of change'. Print Edition | Subscribe