Singapore is top maritime centre for 6th straight year

Singapore came out tops in the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index, which is based on factors such as port throughput and facilities, the depth and breadth of professional maritime support services, as well as the general bu
Singapore came out tops in the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index, which is based on factors such as port throughput and facilities, the depth and breadth of professional maritime support services, as well as the general business environment. Baltic Exchange Asia head Lu Su Ling said the Republic commands a strategic position as a maritime hub.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Republic beats the likes of Hong Kong, London, Shanghai and Dubai in rankings

For the sixth year running, Singapore has clinched the top spot among the world's maritime centres in the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index.

The Republic beat 42 other cities such as Hong Kong, which ranked second, as well as London, which was third. Rounding out the top five maritime centres in the rankings were Shanghai (fourth) and Dubai (fifth).

The index is an independent ranking of the performance of the world's largest cities offering port and shipping business services.

It is a collaboration between Chinese state news agency Xinhua and international freight benchmark provider Baltic Exchange, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Singapore Exchange.

Rankings were based on factors such as port throughput and facilities, the depth and breadth of professional maritime support services, as well as the general business environment.

"Based on the evaluation scores, Singapore shows strength in ship management and shipbroking services, while Hong Kong is benefiting from China's Belt and Road Initiative and economic opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area," said the Baltic Exchange in a statement yesterday.

It noted that while London has "first-class services" in the shipbroking, legal and shipping finance areas, Shanghai and Dubai are catching up with the British capital in their level of shipping development.

Baltic Exchange Asia head Lu Su Ling said Singapore commands a strategic position as a maritime hub in the regional and global arena.

"The maritime industry is, and will remain, a big contributor to Singapore's economy, and it is therefore important that we continue to innovate and invest in this sector to achieve long-term success," she added.

Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport, said the Republic's sixth straight year topping the index was "a vote of confidence to the quality of services offered by the Port of Singapore, as well as the conducive business environment that facilitates an array of maritime activities in Singapore".

In April, the Republic topped the Leading Maritime Capitals of the World report - released once every two years by risk management firm DNV GL and consultancy firm Menon Economics - for the fourth time.

Last month, Singapore bagged the Best Seaport in Asia award at the Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards in Hong Kong.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan congratulated Singapore's maritime sector on the latest win, noting that shipping and its related economic activities are good indicators of how a city is plugged into the global economy.

Describing the maritime sector as a "brutally competitive business", he noted that of the three European cities that ranked in the top five in 2014, when the index was first published, only London remained.

"Success is not guaranteed. But complacency will certainly get us off the chart," he said.

Separately, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Waterborne Transport Research Institute, an agency under China's Ministry of Transport.

The MOU, inked at the 2019 Maritime Silk Road Port International Cooperation Forum in China, seeks to enhance cooperation in information exchange and research between the two agencies in areas such as smart port technology, maritime safety and environmental protection.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2019, with the headline 'Singapore is top maritime centre for 6th straight year'. Print Edition | Subscribe