Singapore is gearing up to host more than 14,000 participants from over 60 countries this month at Sea Asia 2015 — one of the region’s largest maritime conferences and leading forum for analysis and debate on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.
Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) Chairman Mr. Michael Chia said this year’s Sea Asia is also an opportunity to recogniseSingapore’s position as an international maritime centre and highlight the role the industry has played in the country’s growth.
“The maritime industry — which employs some 170,000 people in Singapore and contributes around 7 per cent of Singapore’s GDP — has played a key role in driving Singapore’s development and this trend is set to continue,” he said.
Estimates show that Singapore’s container throughput for 2014 achieved another record high – 33.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) — growing by 4 per cent from 2013. Vessel arrival tonnage also rose by 1.9 per cent last year to 2.37 billion gross tonnage (GT) and Singapore continues to be the world’s top bunkering port with 42.4 million tonnes sold in 2014.[i]
“Singapore continues to cement its position as an international maritime centre and the increasing prominence of Sea Asia in the global maritime calendar demonstrates the country’s importance in addressing the sector’s challenges and opportunities,” he said.
Seatrade Chairman Chris Hayman said the new realities facing the industry such as falling oil prices, an unstable Eurozone and the emergence of new cargo generators such as Africa will be discussed in depth at Sea Asia 2015.
“These developments provide opportunities and challenges for the sector. Falling oil prices, for example, provide real opportunities for the shipping industry to reduce operating costs while creating challenges for the oil and gas industry.”
“Sea Asia 2015 is a critical opportunity for the global maritime and offshore communities to congregate in Singapore and share insightful perspectives on these issues affecting the various industry segments,” said Mr. Hayman.
The Sea Asia 2015 conference and exhibition will be graced by Singapore’s Minister for Transport, Mr. Lui Tuck Yew.
Mr. Chia said: “Mr. Lui’s presence at Sea Asia 2015 is testament to the Government’s recognition of the significant role the maritime industry plays in Singapore’s continuing growth and development.
“It also shows the Government’s commitment and support to sustain our position as one of the world’s leading International Maritime Centres.”
One of the key highlights of this year’s Sea Asia event is the Sea Asia Global Forum which will see Christian Clausen, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Nordea Bank; Khalid Hashim, Managing Director, Precious Shipping Ltd; Tom Boardley, Marine Director, Lloyd’s Register and Vice President, UK Chamber of Shipping; Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chairman, BW Group; and S.S. Teo, Managing Director, Pacific International Lines Pte Ltd discuss trends and issues impacting the maritime industry.
Topics that will be debated include sustainability, shipping finance, demand for ships entering ports to be built locally and the re-alignment of trade in a post-recession world. The impact of oil prices on the industry will also be a key topic on the forum’s agenda.
Sea Asia 2015 will also feature the Offshore Marine Forum which brings industry experts together to debate the challenges and opportunities facing the region’s offshore marine sector against a backdrop of record revenues, orders and complex operating environments.
Among the topics that will be discussed at the Offshore Marine Forum include the manpower challenge facing the offshore marine sector, the need for more technically sophisticated vessels and the changing geography of exploration and production.
Mr. Hayman said: “We look forward to welcoming maritime leaders from around the globe to discuss pertinent maritime issues, growth opportunities in Asia and share thoughts on how to work with the different industry sectors to navigate the challenges we are all facing.”
This year marks the fifth edition of Sea Asia which is co-organised by Seatrade and SMF. It will be held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre from 21 — 23 April as part of Singapore Maritime Week.