Singapore tops list of leading maritime capitals for fourth time

Singapore's port is one of the world's busiest, with container throughput hitting 36.6 million 20-foot equivalent units and vessel arrival tonnage hitting 2.79 billion gross tonnes last year.
Singapore's port is one of the world's busiest, with container throughput hitting 36.6 million 20-foot equivalent units and vessel arrival tonnage hitting 2.79 billion gross tonnes last year.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Singapore has again clinched the top spot in a biennial ranking of the world's leading maritime capitals, the fourth time it has done so.

The Republic has consistently 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 - since 2012 when it was first published.

The latest report was released yesterday at the Sea Asia conference, held in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week.

Coming in second was Hamburg in Germany, with Rotterdam in the Netherlands placing third. Hong Kong was in fourth place, while London came fifth.

The report assessed 15 maritime capitals based on five areas - shipping, maritime finance and law, maritime technology, ports and logistics, as well as attractiveness and competitiveness.

Singapore's port is one of the world's busiest, with container throughput hitting 36.6 million 20-foot equivalent units and vessel arrival tonnage hitting 2.79 billion gross tonnes last year.

Singapore topped the list in three areas - shipping, ports and logistics, and attractiveness and competition.

"The strong results on both the objective indicators and expert assessments affirm (Singapore's) relevance as a critical node within the maritime sector regionally and globally," said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a statement.

However, for maritime technology, Singapore placed eighth - a drop from the second-place ranking it clinched in 2017.

DNV GL Maritime regional manager Shahrin Osman said this was because the report looked at factors such as the amount of equipment produced, as well as the value of assets delivered.

In these areas, cities like Oslo in Norway and London - which came first and second respectively for maritime technology - are "well ahead" of Singapore, noted Mr Shahrin, who co-authored the report.

 
 

"Singapore should continue to invest in maritime research and development, as well as education," he said, noting that this would help improve its ranking in this area.

He added that efforts such as the Singapore Maritime Data Hub could aid Singapore in meeting the challenges of the ongoing digitalisation of the industry.

Noting Singapore's fifth place for maritime finance and law, Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) executive director Michael Phoon said the industry needs to "maintain a hard focus on bringing up ship financing". He noted that the SSA had in recent years tried to raise awareness of capital and financing issues for shipping through forums and conferences.

The report took in the views of 200 maritime experts, who predicted Singapore would retain its top spot over the next five years.

However, they noted stronger competition from other cities such as Shanghai, which they tipped to rank second to Singapore in five years because of the growing influence of China's economy.

Also highlighted in the report was Singapore's ongoing efforts to strengthen its attractiveness as a maritime centre, which have been well received by the industry.

MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon said Singapore's ranking first was an affirmation of its "commitment to develop and grow the maritime industry", though she noted the Republic cannot rest on its laurels. "We are in one of the fastest growing regions in the world, and we will be looking at how to plug into the growth of Asia and Asean so we can continue to tap the increasing inter-Asia trade."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Singapore tops list of leading maritime capitals for fourth time'. Print Edition | Subscribe