Ship arrivals, container volume and bunker sales at Singapore’s port hit record highs in


POSSIBLE HEADWINDS IN 2024

MPA attributed 2023’s strong performance to the recovery in regional trade and the “robust tripartite co-operation among the unions, industry and government to consistently enhance the consistently enhance the efficiency, reliability and safety in the Port of Singapore”.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was a test for us, and we did not just pass it but performed well,” said Acting Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat on Friday at a new year event organised by the Singapore Maritime Foundation.

“We are benefitting from the important moves that we made during the crisis, which built a strong ecosystem with a high degree of trust and partnership.”

However, he warned of “rough seas ahead” as the global economy is expected to grow at a slower pace in 2024, with inflationary pressures and weak consumer sentiment continuing to weigh on economic and trade growth.

Trade flows and supply chains are also being disrupted by geopolitical uncertainty and climate change.

“In 2024, Maritime Singapore must find ways to navigate the stronger headwinds and choppier waters that we will see in the short term, while continuing to invest in industry transformation and talent development to secure our long-term growth and success,” said Mr Chee.

With a more challenging operating environment on the horizon for the industry, MPA will waive the need for security deposits and banker’s guarantees for payers of port dues if they are assessed to be of lower risk.

Parties that are currently billed more than S$5,000 (US$3,762) annually must provide to MPA a security deposit or banker’s guarantee.

Mr Chee said this move, effective from Apr 1, is “expected to benefit about 80 per cent of MPA’s existing billing parties, and improve businesses’ cashflow by more than S$20 million each year”. 

This will help Singapore’s maritime companies, including small-and-medium enterprises, he added. 

RISING RED SEA TENSIONS

The US and UK on Thursday launched airstrikes on Houthi rebel targets in Yemen in response to the group’s attacks on ships in the Red Sea for almost two months. 

MPA said on Friday it is “closely monitoring” the current geopolitical situation around the world and its impact on key shipping routes and global supply chains.

While the Port of Singapore “remains unaffected” by the situation in the Red Sea, it stands ready to assist ships to “catch up” on their schedules. 

It will also support shippers in their cargo connections should supply chain disruptions be protracted and if ships’ schedules are increasingly impacted.

MPA added advisories have been issued to shipowners, managers, operators and masters of Singapore-flagged ships to review their ships’ security plans and implement necessary risk mitigating measures when trading in high-risk areas.



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