Opening address by Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, at The Singapore Maritime Institute Forum, in Genexis Theatre, Fusionopolis, on Wednesday 12 October

Mr Teo Siong Seng, Chairman of the Singapore Maritime Institute Board and Governing Council,

SMI Board and Governing Council members,

Distinguished friends from the maritime community,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning to all of you,

Let me start by congratulating the Singapore Maritime Institute (or SMI) on its success in bringing together so many maritime professionals and experts to this very first SMI Forum. I am pleased to join you today and look forward to a fruitful discussion later.

Importance of the Singapore Maritime Cluster

2 As we all know, from our humble beginnings as an entrepot outpost, Singapore has grown to become the world,s leading transhipment hub and a major shipping nation. The Singapore Maritime Cluster, comprising our Hub Port, Shipping, Maritime Services, and Offshore and Marine Engineering sectors, has become a key and integral part of the Singapore economy. Today, the Maritime Cluster contributes some 7% of Singapore,s GDP and employs more than 170,000 people. The Singapore Registry of Ships is also one of the 10 largest ship registries in the world. We were ranked 6th in 2009. There is also a very good chance that our port will cross the 2 billion gross tons mark in vessel arrival tonnage before the end of the year.

3 As an International Maritime Centre (IMC), there are now more than 100 international shipping groups and over 5,000 maritime related companies with operations in Singapore. Our shore-based ecosystem of ancillary maritime services in law, finance, insurance and brokerage is also developing well.

4 In the offshore and marine engineering sector, Singapore has also done very well. In fact, we have about 70% of global market share in jack-up rigs and the conversion of Floating Production Storage and Offloading platforms.

5 These achievements would not have been possible were it not for the close partnership and cooperation between the Government and the maritime industry. In many ways, we credit the success of Maritime Singapore to the effort and contribution of industry players such as yourselves who have been working with the Government throughout the years to nurture Maritime Singapore to what it is today.

SMI: Creating a Maritime Knowledge Hub

6 One good example of the collaboration between industry and Government is in the area of education and R&D. As we continue to develop Singapore into a leading maritime centre, it is important that we continuously improve our value proposition by providing higher service standards and adopting the latest technologies.

7 Today, we have a vibrant maritime education and research ecosystem. There is a wide spectrum of research capabilities available at our local Institutes of Higher Learning and at the research centres within the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (or A*STAR). To sustain Singapore,s competitive edge, we will need to attract more high-end R&D activities and better align our research agenda with the needs of the industry.

8 It is for this reason that the SMI was set up in 2010 as a joint initiative between the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (or MPA), the Economic Development Board (or EDB) and A*STAR. The goal of the Institute is to develop strategies and programmes in three key areas: (i) maritime education; (ii) maritime policy research; and (iii) maritime R&D. I am told that SMI has already started working with our local Institutes of Higher Learning to set up maritime centres at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP). I hope this will position SMI more strongly to effectively develop Singapore as a Maritime Knowledge Hub.

Next Generation Container Port Challenge

9 To further spur innovation in the maritime industry, I am pleased to announce that SMI and MPA plan to launch the “Next Generation Container Port Challenge” at the Singapore Maritime Week which will be held in April next year.

10 Those in the industry will know that the basic design of a container port has remained largely unchanged for decades – a simple plot of land with stacks of containers surrounded by cranes to lift boxes on and off ships. While there have been some improvements in port technologies, these are mostly incremental changes.

11 Yet on the demand side, things have changed much more dramatically. Not so long ago, the workhorse of the Asia-Europe trade was a 6,000 TEU container ship. That soon went up to 12,000 TEUs and soon, we might have to prepare for an era with even larger ships beyond 18,000 TEUs. At the same time, safety, security and the need to put in place environmentally sustainable practices are putting more demands on port infrastructure; to say nothing of the need for space to accommodate growth. In land-scarce Singapore, these present us with a real challenge. But one that we are determined to meet head on. We don,t think we should do it alone and are fully prepared to source ideas from the brightest and the best from all over!

12 The “Next Generation Container Port Challenge” has therefore been conceived to dare participants from all over the world to look into the future, think beyond existing conventions and to submit radical new designs for the next generation of container ports. We want them not only to think out of the box, but around and even ahead of the box! The winning concept will have to embody innovation, efficiency, productivity and sustainability. As such, we will be offering a US$1 million dollar cash prize to the winner. SMI and MPA will release more information closer to the launch. In the meantime, I encourage industry and academia to put your heads together and dare to dream. Over the next few months, MPA, SMI and other supporting agencies will engage industry players and academia from all over the world to share more about the Challenge and invite them to form teams to participate.


13 Let me conclude by emphasizing that the continued partnership between the industry and academia remains the cornerstone of an innovative and competitive Singapore Maritime Cluster. I hope that today,s Forum will serve as a platform for many more collaborations ahead, to develop new ideas and innovation that can reinvent the way we do business.

14 Thank you.