Maritime sector remains resilient during Covid-19 pandemic: Chee Hong Tat

Training workers now will help to protect Singapore's position as a global hub port and international maritime centre.
Training workers now will help to protect Singapore's position as a global hub port and international maritime centre.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The maritime sector has remained resilient amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with container throughput falling by only 2 per cent from January to July this year compared with the same period last year.

This is lower than has been registered at many other ports, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat on Tuesday (Aug 25).

"We have kept our port open and goods flowing," he said.

"In fact, we saw some diversion of traffic from other ports to the port of Singapore."

In order to build on this, the Government will look to expand the base of maritime talent in Singapore, said Mr Chee at an online dialogue to promote job opportunities in the sector.

He announced one such initiative on Tuesday to offer more than 200 traineeships in the maritime sector to new and recent graduates. They will come under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme, which aims to give graduates and soon-to-be graduates industry experience in various sectors.

Organisations that will be offering the traineeships include PSA, Jurong Port and Maersk Singapore. Those interested can apply for roles in areas such as operations, engineering and corporate job functions.

Mr Chee said: "This is a good start, but we are not going to stop here.

"We will continue to work with the industry to create more training and attachment opportunities to grow our maritime talent pool."

He said that the sector offers opportunities for travel and pays attractive salaries.

But he acknowledged it is still under pressure with the global economy slowing down, affecting trade volumes and the movement of goods.

 
 
 

However, while companies become more cautious in the current climate, the Government is confident that the maritime sector will continue growing after the Covid-19 pandemic ends, he said.

Training workers now will help to protect Singapore's position as a global hub port and international maritime centre.

Moving forward, Singapore will also look to combine the strengths of its sea port and airport to offer multi-modal logistic solutions.

Mr Chee said this will enable the Republic to seize opportunities created by the rapid growth of e-commerce in the region.

"Even though you are placing the orders online, the goods still have to be delivered physically," he said.

"This will give an extra boost to intra-regional trade, (so) connectivity and logistics will play increasingly important roles."