Speech by Mr Raymond Lim Minister for Transport and second Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Singapore Maritime Foundation's New Year Cocktail Reception, 6 January 2011 Sentosa Pavilion @ Serapong

Mr Michael Chia, Chairman, Singapore Maritime Foundation

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to join all of you here today to welcome the New Year.

Port and Maritime Performance in 2010

Compared to one-to-two years before, 2010 was more positive for the maritime industry. Cargo volumes have picked up and container freight rates are stabilising. Around the room, I see a lot more smiling faces this year.

Our advanced estimates show that Singapore’s container throughput for 2010 was 28.4 million TEUs. This is an increase of about 10 percent over 2009. Total vessel calls at our port in terms of shipping tonnage have also grown by 7.5 percent to 1.9 billion gross tons. As a major transhipment hub, we are well positioned to capitalise on the growth momentum in Asia. Singapore also remains the world’s top bunkering port. Our total bunker sale in 2010 reached a new record high of 40.9 million tons. This is an increase of 12.3 percent from 2009.

As a premier international maritime centre, Singapore continues to attract a broad range of maritime players to support our port operations and the diverse needs of ship owners and operators. Last year, we welcomed onboard established maritime service companies such as McQuilling Energy Brokerage Services Asia, Howe Robinson, Braemer Seascope and Campi d’Oro Shipping. Going by the nationalities of the people present here, you can be forgiven for thinking that we are having a mini-United Nations gathering.

Key Initiatives in 2010

The Singapore Government is firmly committed to supporting the growth of the maritime industry. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has extended the port dues concessions for all ocean-going ships and harbour craft.

To develop Singapore as a leading centre for maritime research and education, we announced the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) initiative last September. This institute aims to drive maritime Research and Development (R&D) in Singapore, and groom local maritime talent. MPA has committed up to S$200 million in funding for the Maritime Institute over the next 10 years; and this will be supplemented by collaborative funding from the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Economic Development Board (EDB).

To further promote maritime R&D, MPA also developed new programmes under the Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund, or MINT Fund, in the areas of clean energy and environmental protection. Over the past year, MPA inked Memoranda of Understanding with the Nanyang Technological University and Temasek Polytechnic to collectively pledge a total of S$12 million to support projects on clean energy and fuel cell technology.

Our efforts to build Singapore as a major international maritime centre would not have been possible without a close partnership between the government, industry and our unions. The Singapore Maritime Foundation, the Singapore Shipping Association, the Association of Singapore Marine Industries, the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen have each played active roles in promoting and developing Maritime Singapore. I warmly extend my appreciation to them and look forward to working even more closely with them in the year ahead.

On that note, let me wish you all a pleasant evening and a good year ahead. Thank you.