A Unified ‘Asian Voice’

Singapore’s future as a leading international maritime centre, shipping regulation, piracy, armed robbery, and Greenhouse Gas emissions were all addressed in the message given by the Singapore Shipping Association’s President at the start of Singapore Maritime Week

A Unified ‘Asian Voice’

The Singapore Shipping Association has strengthened its call for a unified ‘Asian Voice’

By Mark Lowe, Maritime Security Review

The message delivered by Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) President Patrick Phoon at the start of Singapore Maritime Week could not have been clearer: “World shipping is moving east so it is important for the SSA to work more closely with other organisations in Asia to ensure the Asian message is heard internationally.

Mr Phoon added that: “The industry is going through difficult times but we must all ensure that shipping is fit and strong when the crisis ends.

The Association’s President went on to state that Singapore will continue its drive to be a leading international maritime centre and will work even more closely with countries and shipping associations in the region to realise its goal of creating a unified ‘Asian Voice’ in the shipping industry.

Key to Singapore’s continued growth as an international maritime centre is the close co-operation between the SSA and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). According to Mr. Phoon: “We will continue to work in tandem with the MPA with whom we have excellent relations, in our joint efforts to promote Singapore as a leading maritime centre.”

The government of Singapore have been very supportive to the shipping sector. Masamichi Morooka, Chairman of International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), recently stated that the work of the ICS would be made much easier if other governments followed Singapore’s lead in supporting the shipping industry.

Mr Phoon commented that: “For us in Singapore, we are fortunate that we have a government who listens very closely to the shipping industry.”

According to Martin Franks, Regional Manager Asia/Pacific at LGS Matrix: “The government of Singapore has demonstrated over time to be committed to making the country a premier maritime centre of excellence. Singapore is already one of the world’s two busiest seaports and the future looks to be extremely positive.

LGS Matrix see Singapore as strategic to the future of the shipping industry. Franks explained that: “As part of our strategy of international expansion, in January 2013 we officially opened our new office in Singapore.

Despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, Singapore commands an enormous presence in the global maritime industry. With more than 4,000 ships and totalling in excess of 50 million Gross Tons, the Singapore Registry ranks among the top ten in the world. The Registry places a strong responsibility and commitment on the part of Singapore shipowners and ship management companies to maintain the Singapore Flag as a high quality flag. This creates a highly professional working environment where our goal is to develop a comprehensive range of maritime services.”

LGS Matrix, accredited SAMI Stage 1 members and signatories to the ICoC, offer a full range of security services to clients in the maritime industry that includes, but is not limited to, crew training, voyage planning, vessel hardening and protection, and BMP implementation.

Franks firmly believes that: “As a leading International Maritime Centre, Singapore is key to our future development strategies and we welcome the opportunity to work in such an inspiring environment.

Part of the ‘inspiring environment’ cited by Franks is Singapore’s focus on the education of young people.  In addition to government support, a number of associations and organisations provide professional development scholarships.

The SSA is one of these, as pointed out by Mr Phoon in his address at the beginning of the week: “We strongly support the education of young people with a potential interest in shipping through a number of initiatives – including our support of the MaritimeONE initiative, the provision of scholarships by both the Association and our members and through our support for our SSA YEG (Young Executives Group) which is incidentally celebrating its seventh anniversary this year. Encouraging the young to join our industry is absolutely a key objective of the SSA.”

It would appear that Singapore has a very interesting future ahead, a future that has already begun.

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