Thursday, 23 April 2015

'Be ready to ride wave' of maritime growth

Lui: Asia will drive sector and S'pore must ensure it can meet demand
By Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 22 Apr 2015

ASIA'S fast-expanding economy will drive the shipping industry in coming years so Singapore must be ready to "ride on (this) wave of growth", said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew yesterday.

Mr Lui told the opening of Sea Asia, an anchor event at Singapore Maritime Week, that Asia accounted for almost 80 per cent of global container throughput at the world's top 30 ports last year, with this share tipped to expand. "We need to ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet the growth in shipping demand, and support the proliferation of mega vessels," said Mr Lui.

He added that Singapore has already invested significantly to increase port capacity.

When the third and fourth phases for Pasir Panjang Terminal are fully operational by the end of 2017, Singapore's total port capacity will increase by more than 40 per cent to 50 million 20-foot equivalent units.

Mr Lui also said that the Government will ensure that the maritime industry will grow in "a sustainable and responsible way" - such as introducing liquefied natural gas bunkering by 2017, in line with global efforts to use cleaner and sulphur-free fuels.

It will also take steps to develop maritime talent, he said.

The Maritime and Port Authority will roll out a career conversion scheme for Singaporeans to undertake mid-career switches into the maritime sector.

"We will continue to ensure that Singapore remains a prime location... so that maritime companies which are already here, or are looking for a landing spot in Asia, can continue to look to Singapore as a potential base to tap immense opportunities in Asia and beyond," said Mr Lui.

Industry leaders at the conference also discussed the future of Asia's shipping and offshore industry against the backdrop of falling oil prices.

"It's a question of survival over the next few years," said Mr Khalid Hashim, managing director of Thai dry bulk shipping firm Precious Shipping, who was one of five panellists at the Sea Asia Global Forum. Companies need to "do some things right" in order to be successful, namely scrapping old rigs, getting rid of non-core assets, raising finances and cutting costs, he said.

Pacific International Lines managing director Teo Siong Seng said shipowners should be more "responsible" when it comes to newbuilds. "There is too much newbuilding still."

Most of the panellists, however, remained optimistic about the medium to longer-term outlook, citing the projected growth of shipping volume, on the back of Asia's burgeoning middle class.

Singapore Maritime Week, much of which is held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, ends on Friday.

'No containing' Singapore's shipping capacity
MPA's growth plans may leave rivals trailing in its wake: HK shipping boss
By Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 23 Apr 2015

SINGAPORE'S plans to expand its container shipping capacity could allow it to "pull away" from its competitors, said shipping magnate Tung Chee Chen yesterday.

Mr Tung pointed to the trend of mega-vessels and added: "If Singapore is actually looking into the future and thinking that the big ships are here to stay, then its transhipment operations could be the key to success."

Singapore's port authorities have already announced long- term plans to increase container handling capacity - there will be a new port in Tuas as well as new facilities at the Pasir Panjang Terminal to accommodate up to 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units from 2027.

This will be almost double the current handling capacity.

"Relatively speaking, no other country, or no other neighbouring port, is actually contemplating investing or trying to catch up," said Mr Tung, who is chairman of Hong Kong shipping group Orient Overseas International.

He noted that more shipping companies are turning to bigger vessels, which also require "a new set of facilities to take care of them".

"The terminal must know how to manage without any hiccups. If you have congestion and delays, you create dislocation in the system, which is not good for the customer (or for yourself as an operator).

"Terminals have to continue with investments and keep pace with the changes."

Mr Tung, who was delivering the Singapore Maritime Lecture at the Fullerton Hotel, said firms may need to "look beyond our usual industry parameters" given the challenging conditions still facing global shippers.

This could involve extending a business' operations to land activity or ensuring the co-existence and cooperation of carriers, both big and small.

Mr Tung noted that China's new "Silk Road" strategy could boost close cooperation among nations and bring "new energy" to global maritime trade.

"The word cooperation seems to be really hitting home as the common denominator," he pointed out.

"It is becoming an increasing necessity in the global village that we have built. As a villager, we must focus more of our efforts on cultivating success."

The lecture, which was organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), is a key feature of Singapore Maritime Week, which ends tomorrow. About 450 maritime industry delegates attended yesterday's lecture, the ninth such.

Meanwhile, the MPA Academy - the training arm of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore - inked an agreement with the World Maritime University (WMU) yesterday to cooperate in the grooming of talent.

The WMU is a post-graduate university founded by the International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations agency.

The memorandum of understanding involves the two organisations collaborating on leadership development programmes and exchanging faculty members.

MPA said in a statement that the agreement was in line with MPA Academy's efforts to reposition itself as a centre of excellence in global maritime leadership training.

"On their own, the steps that the Government took and our investments, while necessary, would not have been sufficient...
Posted by Ministry of Transport, Singapore on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shipping magnate lauded for helping to steer sector
By Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 22 Apr 2015

BEFORE starting his own shipping line in 1967, magnate Teo Woon Tiong, widely known as YC Chang, sailed cargo between Malacca and Indonesia on Chinese junks.

A pirate attack caused the Fujian-born businessman to lose his fortune, but not his drive. Mr Teo later came to Singapore and joined a local trading firm, before setting up Pacific International Lines (PIL).

Mr Teo, now 96, is not one to be deterred by challenges, his son and PIL managing director Teo Siong Seng told The Straits Times yesterday.

As other firms avoided China at the height of the Cold War, he made his way into the closed market, a move that later paved the way for Sino-Singapore bilateral ties.

PIL is now the world's No. 18 container ship operator, with a fleet of 200 vessels, and a presence across 100 countries.

For his contributions to Singapore's shipping industry, Mr Teo was conferred the prestigious International Maritime Centre (Individual) award at the Singapore International Maritime Awards last night. His son received the award for him at a gala dinner at Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

In an opening address to some 630 maritime leaders, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew hailed Mr Teo as a pioneer of the maritime industry here. He also paid tribute to Pacific Carriers, one of the oldest shipping companies here, and Thome Group executive chairman Olav Thorstensen.

Besides Mr Teo, 10 other industry partners were lauded last night, including Mitsui O.S.K Bulk Shipping (Asia Oceania), which received the corporate award for helping Singapore develop as an international maritime centre.

BP Singapore won for its quality bunkering services, while Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre snagged an award for innovation in research and development of maritime industry technology.

Sembcorp Marine was awarded for driving the development of the offshore and marine engineering sector.

The biennial awards, organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, are held in conjunction with the week-long Singapore Maritime Week, in its 10th edition.

A video tribute to our maritime pioneers! Thank you for your contributions!
Posted by Singapore Maritime Week on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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