Amid the sweeping changes to the external environment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Singapore has been facing a significant challenge to breathe life into and maintain the status of two key hubs which the broader economy depends on: Changi Airport and the sea port. These are not just vital nodes in the global supply chain, but their continued functioning is also inextricably tied to jobs and Singapore's economic competitiveness. Newly appointed Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung graphically described them as "two lungs" that nourish the rest of the body and which add vitality and competitiveness to all sectors of the country. These range from retail to logistics to advanced engineering. At every level of these sectors are jobs and the well-being of the employees carrying out these tasks.
Singapore's sea port, the vital second lung that powers an economy whose trade is more than three times its gross domestic product, appears to have managed better so far. It has, for instance, retained its position as the world's most important shipping hub on the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index for the seventh consecutive year. A joint declaration in late April by the port authorities in 20 countries across three continents to keep ports open for trade amid the pandemic has also been important to safeguard unimpeded maritime trade.
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