Opening Address by Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, Maritime And Port Authority of Singapore at the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) Forum 2019, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel On 8 November 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. A warm welcome to the Singapore Registry of Ships Forum 2019. This is a forum we hold every year to bring together our partners within SRS and update you on key initiatives for Maritime Singapore.
Let me bring you a piece of good news. The Singapore Registry of Ships has crossed the 95 million GT milestone, maintaining our position among the top five registries in the world. Thank you all for partnering us in this and choosing the Singapore flag for your ships.
Singapore-registered ships have also continued to perform well under the various port State control regimes. Chung Hun, our Director of Shipping, will share more on this later.
Let me spend the next few minutes to talk about the immediate — International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 regulations, then beyond 2020. The theme of this year’s SRS Forum, “2020 and Beyond”, is timely.
We have been working together with the Singapore Shipping Association or SSA to prepare for this transition for some time. Last year at this Forum, we published two technical guidance booklets to guide companies, and subsequently updated you. SSA also produced its own Readiness Plan for its member companies. Recently in October, we published a technical advisory on the Exhaust Gas Cleaning System, or scrubber. This advisory shares some observations and best practices regarding the installation and operation of scrubbers.
Within the industry, there were also numerous sharing avenues. From MPA, I count at least five engagement platforms since 2018 to hear your concerns and address them, including SIBCON 2018, Bunker Forum, MPA-SSA IMO2020 seminar and a workshop on implementation of this regulation by Port State Control.
Those who still have questions, the MPA team has arranged several speakers on this topic, and feel free to approach them with your queries so that you can make your final preparations to comply with the IMO 2020 regulations.
Beyond 2020 – Companies need to adjust to new baseline for the maritime industry
As we approach 2020, more ship owners and operators in the industry have begun to look beyond the challenges and opportunities on the horizon. The global economic environment continues to remain uncertain. Geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China, conflict risks in the middle east, uncertainties regarding Brexit and global trade deals have contributed towards economic volatility. IMF has moderated global growth forecasts, from 3.6% last year, to 3.2% this year. There are some bright spots, such as supportive global monetary policy and growth prospects in emerging markets. Overall, analysts remain cautious.
To move forward, Maritime Singapore’s ambitions must be placed in a larger context of the new baseline that the global maritime industry is moving towards, and continue to operate under a “new normal”. This is underpinned by three “D”s.
First, Disruption. New technologies, such as Additive Manufacturing, could alter trade flows. A recent study conducted by NTU and NUS showed that 3D printing can affect between 6% to 23 % of global shipping volumes by 2045. To further enhance efficiency and maintain the competitiveness of our port, MPA aims to optimise the use of limited anchorage spaces in Singapore. MPA is working with industry partners on faster vessel turnaround time.
Second “D” – Digitalisation. Information and data will be the new fuel of the future that will power our industry, as we tap into big data insights. The blurring of lines will happen not just between shore and sea, but between physical and virtual, between man and machine, and between smart systems. We can tap on digitalisation to improve the efficiency of the maritime industry.
The Third “D” – Decarbonisation. I hear intensive industry discussions on how to meet the IMO2050 target of 50% GHG cuts from 2008 baseline such as during the recent Global Maritime Forum that Singapore hosted.
These are the trends that we are watching closely and we will be developing plans moving forward.
Our ambitions for Maritime Singapore
Singapore’s vision and ambition is clear — to be the global hub port and the international maritime centre for the shipping world. Our future state must be one that is powered by greener fuels, new shipping capabilities, new maritime talent, interoperable digital platforms and players beyond the traditional realm of maritime.
So how do we operate in a new baseline and new normal? We have already mapped out our IMC2030 and NGP2030 plans together with the industry. On R&D, we have a roadmap set out into 2030. But, we are now thinking through our plans for 2030 and beyond. Today, I will touch on three “Beyonds”: (i) Beyond physical connectivity, and moving towards digital and financial connectivity, (ii) Beyond physical innovation to sustainability and decarbonisation, and (iii) Beyond seafaring to integrate onshore and offshore as a career.
Beyond physical connectivity towards digital connectivity
This will enhance the efficiency of our port and ensure we continue to remain a critical node in global trade, data and financial flows.
Just last week, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat launched our ‘digitalPORT@SG’. It will be a one-stop digital platform for port clearance by port authorities. In Phase 2, it will offer Just-In-Time and anchorage services. More than 10 companies have already subscribed to digitalPORT@SG, and we will roll this platform out to all maritime companies from 1 Dec 2019.
Our ambition is to connect digitalPORT@SG to other digital platforms with industry platforms and other port authorities. One good example is the recent MOU that China and Singapore signed to accept the use of ships’ electronic certificates for port state inspections and port clearance, or e-port clearance.
MPA is also enhancing our digital connectivity with customers. MPA has progressively digitalised many of the services offered by both One Stop Document Centre (OSDC) and the SRS via Marinet. We have enhanced it to perform auto-billing of services and auto-issuance of Receipt of Application for crew Certificate of Endorsement, Civil Liability Certificate, Wreck Removal Certificate, and the armed guard advisory letter.
By end 2019, all services provided by the OSDC will be digitalised. OSDC will gradually phase out physical counter services. Starting 1 Dec 2019, the OSDC counter will only be opened for half a day, and from 1 Jan 2020, all services will take place online on Marinet. To provide one single all-encompassing platform for our customers, starting Dec 2019 digitalPORT@SG will be linked to all Marinet e-services and Marinet users will be progressively migrated over to digitalPORT@SG.
Beyond physical innovation for sustainability and decarbonisation
Beyond meeting the 2020 sulphur limit, we are aiming to fully embrace sustainability and prepare ourselves for a lower-carbon future.
The Maritime Singapore Green Initiative (MSGI) has been one of MPA’s key sustainability initiatives since its introduction in 2011. It comprises the Green Ship Programme, Green Port Programme, Green Technology Programme, Green Energy Programme and Green Awareness programme. The scheme is expiring 31 Dec 2019. I am glad to announce today that we will extend the MSGI and enhance it for another five years till 31 Dec 2024. We will give it a new focus on decarbonisation. For example, we hope that the Green Awareness Programme will encourage you to start exploring carbon reporting and internal carbon pricing.
The MSGI will have a new incentive to encourage adoption of LNG. LNG is a cleaner and greener fuel than existing available options and is the only viable solution at scale for the shipping industry for now.
Singapore is also LNG bunkering ready. MPA expects our two LNG bunker tankers to facilitate ship-to-ship LNG bunkering for ocean going vessels from 3Q2020 onwards. Our two LNG bunker supplier licenses, FueLNG and Pavilion, have performed more than 150 truck-to-ship LNG bunkering operations. Singapore also performed the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering of Sleipnir at Sembcorp Marine earlier this July.
We are excited about the developments in LNG bunkering and will continue to work with partners to develop our ecosystem and infrastructure to position ourselves as a key LNG bunkering hub for the region and the world. We expect more LNG vessels to call on our Port. We are preparing for the first simultaneous operations for LNG bunkering and cargo operations next year.
We will continue to work with partners on research on new technologies for future shipping.
Beyond seafaring to integrate onshore and offshore as a career
Amidst the disruption in the sector, our maritime workforce must remain relevant. Earlier this year, we announced the Sea Transport Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and Work-Study Programme (WSP). Let me give you more details.
To enhance the capabilities of the local workforce, MPA, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore have jointly embarked on the PCP for Sea Transport Professionals. The PCP helps to equip these mid-career PMETs with new skills in areas such as automation, data analytics, green shipping and cybersecurity, so that they can take up exciting new roles in port operations and services, shipping or maritime services. Companies would receive co-funding support to re-skill PCP participants through a mixture of classroom learning and structured on-the-job training.
There is also the WSP that provides fresh graduates from polytechnics with opportunities to build on their skills and knowledge acquired in schools, and to better support their transition into the workforce, MPA together with SSG have rolled out the WSP for ship-owning, operating and broking. Administered by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, the 18-month long WSP provides structured training and a workplace mentor to guide participants. Participants will receive an internationally recognised certification upon completion of the programme, putting them in good stead to develop their maritime careers further. I look forward to seeing more companies and participants sign up for both PCP and the WSP.
The seafaring career remains an important component of Singapore’s maritime job eco-system. I am sure we know of many former seafarers who are now helming key roles both at sea and on shore. To continue attracting good people into this profession, I am glad to announce that the Tripartite Maritime Scholarship (TMSS) has been enhanced. We will be introducing a new mid-term TMSS scholarship for Certificate of Competency (CoC) 3/5 holders, providing a $30,000 sign-on bonus, allowances as well as cover the costs of subsequent CoC and other compulsory course fees. I hope that this mid-term TMSS scholarship will help us widen the pool of potential applicants and encourage more to continue their seafaring career, with opportunities beyond offshore towards onshore.
MPA will continue to work closely with the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) and the industry to assist local seafarers to succeed in the workplace of the future. “Tripartism” – is unique to Singapore and what gives us an edge on the world stage, and we will continue to build on this strong foundation of collaboration and cooperation between the Government, labour union and industry.
Close Collaboration Remains Key
In closing, this event gathers all important partners of our SRS. We are grateful for your support. I want to recognise the shipping companies that have helped us cross the 92nd to 95th million GT milestones. We will be presenting the SRS Milestone Gifts to these ship owners later. We will recognise companies that have made good on their commitments to the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative by awarding them with MPA’s Green Ship certificates.
We will give out Manpower Recognition Awards to companies that have contributed significantly to the training of Singaporeans.
To end, we have achieved so much together as Maritime Singapore. It is not always smooth sailing, but I have seen how we come together to resolve issues constructively, so that we not only sail, but fly the SRS flag high.
Thank you all once again for the incredible support and we look forward to doing more with you. The future is unpredictable, but together we can to bring Maritime Singapore into 2020 and beyond.