Two recent developments attest to the strong signal that Singapore is sending out to the rest of the world: that the country is open for business. It has been announced that Changi Airport's Terminal 2 will reopen for the first departing flights on Oct 11 after a break of more than two years, including all Singapore Airlines flights to South-east Asian destinations. T2's revamp in 2020 was aimed at allowing the terminal to handle up to five million more passengers a year, before it was shut that year due to falling passenger numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic. It will effectively be half-open from next month. Coming amid larger plans to expand Changi's capacity, T2's reopening is an indication of the seriousness with which Singapore seeks to retain its status as an international aviation hub. Locating SIA's South-east Asian flight operations in the terminal provides concrete support for the fortunes of the terminal as the airport - and the rest of Singapore - continues to recover from the pernicious economic effects of Covid-19.
The other development, too, relates to Singapore's position as a global transport hub. The official opening of Tuas Port this month also demonstrates Singapore's determination to show that it is very much gearing up for business. This is not a new calling but an old imperative that has to be restated in the post-Covid-19 age. Capitalising on its maritime location constituted the bedrock of the island's economic strategy long before the arrival of Stamford Raffles. But the British sojourner gave that strategy an extended lease of life in the context of the global trade routes that served the colonial order. The globalisation of the world economy over the past decades has provided opportunities for Singapore to expand and deepen its geographical strategy of survival and success. Today, the port plays a critical role in connecting the country to the world economy. One third of global container trade and one quarter of global seaborne oil trade pass through the Strait of Malacca and the Singapore Strait every year. Singapore has to keep updating its relevance to maritime trade by providing efficient and reliable services along this critical artery of trade between the East and the West.