SINGAPORE - The Republic has been re-elected to the council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for a 14th consecutive two-year term.
As a major port state of a vital shipping lane, Singapore brings balanced perspectives to challenges that the shipping industry faces, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a statement on Friday (Nov 29) before the election.
The election was held in London on Friday. Mr Khaw led a delegation comprising officials from the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
In a statement by the MOT on Saturday, Mr Khaw said that Singapore is honoured to be re-elected to the IMO Council and grateful for the support of its fellow IMO member states.
"We will continue to contribute actively towards the IMO's goals," said Mr Khaw.
Singapore was first elected to the IMO Council in 1993 and has since been re-elected to the council by the IMO assembly which is held every two years. The council is made up of 40 member states.
Singapore's maritime industry, including the marine and offshore engineering sector, employs about 170,000 people and contributes 7 per cent of Singapore's economy.
The IMO, the shipping agency of the United Nations, was established in 1948 to facilitate cooperation among governments on technical matters affecting international shipping, such as maritime safety and the prevention of pollution from ships.
The IMO also deals with legal matters connected with international shipping and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.
In a candidature statement on Friday, Mr Khaw said that Singapore hopes to contribute to the IMO in three main areas - technical cooperation and capacity building, maritime safety and sustainable shipping.
Mr Khaw highlighted the disruptions brought about by digitalisation and decarbonisation in a separate, general statement at the assembly.
He said the IMO's leadership is especially important at a time when international shipping is trying to cope with these disruptions.
"While digitalisation creates opportunities and benefits, (it) can only reach its full potential when data flows are seamless across borders. Standardisation is key to supporting cross-border data flows," said Mr Khaw, who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure.
He said that this is why Singapore allows local digital platforms of ports, shipping and logistic companies to inter-operate. "This way, we can achieve e-port clearance globally."
As for digitalisation, Mr Khaw said that it carries increased risks of cyber-security threats.
"To eliminate this downside, we need global collaboration. Together with other like-minded port authorities, Singapore is promoting a set of standard operating procedures to share information on cyber-security incidents," he said.
He also highlighted the issue of climate change, urging the IMO to press on with more research, development efforts and discussions to reach consensus on appropriate measures for the global shipping community.
Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.