Singapore: From ship chandler to strategic partner

Mike Sim, former executive chairman of SINWA takes a closer look at Singapore and the development of the city-state's maritime sector over the last 30 years...
Singapore: From ship chandler to strategic partner

As a small country, highly dependent on international trade, Singapore has always regarded its maritime and port sector as a critical pillar supporting our economic development.

The maritime industry contributes to around seven percent of Singapore’s gross domestic product. With more than 130 international shipping groups and 5,000 maritime establishments in Singapore, the industry employs more than 180,000 people. Singapore is ranked as the world’s second busiest port, behind Shanghai. It is also the world’s leader in offshore and marine engineering, and the world’s largest bunkering hub (42.2m. ton).

In addition, the Singapore Registry of Ships is the world’s fifth largest. Singapore’s myriad maritime facilities and support services have enabled the city-state to be internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading maritime hubs. The Marine and Offshore supply industry, with some 163 companies, employing close to 2,500 people, plays a pivotal role in the growth and development of the shipping industry of Singapore by providing reliable and competitive supplies and services to vessels calling at Singapore.

However, to remain relevant, today’s ship suppliers must re-position themselves for the future challenges ahead by not only exploring, but embracing technology to increase work efficiency, to enhance capabilities and increase productivity, and to better manage their resources. And just as the Port of Singapore continues to face stiff competition from existing and new maritime regional contenders to be the leading maritime hub, ship suppliers, too, are in a similar predicament.

Oil majors such as Shell and BP, and the bigger ship owners and ship management companies are tendering out their storing requirements on a regional, if not, global basis. The competition is fiercely gearing up not just among the ship suppliers within Singapore, but from other maritime centres such as Dubai and Rotterdam. Amidst this challenging landscape, and coupled with the current scaling down of activities by oil majors and rig operators in the wake of lower oil prices, what are the options available to the ship supplier to remain relevant, and more importantly, to stay ahead of the pack?

(To be continued...)

Singapore: From ship chandler to strategic partner

by Mike Sim

Former executive chairman, SINWA

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