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Singapore gears up for annual maritime week amid industry headwinds

Singapore gears up for annual maritime week amid industry headwinds
The Singapore maritime industry is gearing up for a week packed with maritime events and activities from 17-22 April, where the 11th edition of the Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2016 will feature events including the annual maritime lecture and a high-level offshore industry forum.

This year’s SMW theme, Positioning for Future Growth, came at a time when the broad shipping and offshore sectors are facing headwinds due to softening global economic growth, lingering oversupply of tonnage and depressed freight rates.

Andrew Tan, chief executive of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said at a SMW media briefing in Singapore on Friday that the industry needs to adjust to a ‘new normal’ of slowing trade growth, with consolidation being the “order of the day for those whose businesses are not diversified enough.”

SMW 2016, which features 31 events out of which 16 are new, has been designed to address the critical issues impacting the maritime industry.

Anchoring the eventful week is the annual Singapore Maritime Lecture, going into its 10th edition. This year the keynote speaker will be Kristian Siem, chairman of Siem Industries. He will lead a panel discussion of luminaries such as Andreas Sohmen-Pao, chairman of BW Group, David Carbon, managing director of economic and currency research, DBS Bank, and Teo Siong Seng, managing director Pacific International Lines (PIL), on the morning of 18 April.

The 2nd Offshore Marine Forum, jointly organised by Seatrade and Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), is an exclusive half-day, high-level industry forum happening on 19 April. Top leaders of the offshore industry will come together to share and discuss their views and outlook of the industry.

MPA’s Tan noted that despite the recession in the offshore market, there is still a lot of interests shown by players, particularly on how to rationalise their business and prepare themselves for the eventual upturn.

Apart from the business events, the week will also see public outreach activities such as the MPA Learning Journeys, the Amazing Maritime Challenge, the OSV@Vivo, and paintings exhibition titled ‘Memories of City Port Scenes’.

“This year’s SMW is an off-cycle year for Sea Asia. In years like this we try to give more attention on maritime outreach to the public,” Tan said. Sea Asia is a biennial event which will return next year for its 6th edition on 25-27 April 2017.

In a new survey data by Sea Asia in the lead up to Sea Asia 2017, results show that maritime leaders are calling on the industry to adopt new technology as a way to capitalise on opportunities and navigate today’s increasingly complex environment.

Other events during SMW 2016 include the Moore Stephens - BNP Paribas Singapore Shipping Forum 2016, an inaugural Maritime Administrators’ Forum, SMI Seminar 2016: Smart Ships, Maritime Cyber Security Seminar, and TOC Asia 2016.

Tan said: “Given the uncertain market outlook, SMW 2016 will be about sharpening competitiveness in the industry by addressing the economic challenges and identifying unexplored areas for growth.

“By creating awareness, building interest in the sector and enhancing understanding vis-a-vis our line-up of events, we hope to foster a stronger, more cohesive maritime community that will weather the headwinds and be well-positioned for growth opportunities that are inevitable when the tide turns.”