Singapore (002).JPG Photo: Lee Hong Liang

Singapore tops international shipping centre index for 7th year running

Singapore has retained the top spot as international shipping centre for the seventh consecutive year, based on the 2020 Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) index.

The selection for the top shipping centre is based on objective factors including port throughput and infrastructure, depth and breadth of professional maritime support services, as well as the general business environment, according to Lu Su Ling, head, Baltic Exchange Asia.

Singapore maintained its position as the most important shipping hub in the Asia-Pacific region, ranking first for seven consecutive years with its advantages of geographical location, shipping industry ecosystem and supportive government policies, Lu said at a virtual press briefing.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore chief executive, Quah Ley Hoon said: “This good news comes amidst the Covid-19 gloom. The real test will be how we bounce back in a world shaken by an unprecedented crisis. We will need a global and co-ordinated effort. In this regard, Singapore will continue to rally governments and the global shipping community to work together and emerge stronger.”

London, with advantages accruing from providing high-end shipping finance, insurance, and legal services, has climbed back to the second place after dropping to third place in 2018 and 2019.

China’s Shanghai saw a steady improvement in port facilities and shipping services levels, allowing it to ascend to the top three for the first time.

Hong Kong fell to fourth place mainly due to a decrease in cargo throughput and a drop in rankings relative to other centres in areas such as ship brokerage, insurance and legal services.

UAE’s Dubai ranked fifth for the third consecutive year. European centres Rotterdam and Hamburg have also retained their positions since 2018, ranking sixth and seventh respectively.

Benefiting from an improving business environment, Athens rose to eighth. New York-New Jersey slipped by one place, while Tokyo rose one place, returning to the ranks of the top 10.

In the top 30, there are 16 Asian centres with eight in China.

“Whilst this report reflects a pre-Covid 19 world, those locations which continue to build on their strengths, are able to communicate a clear vision for the future and diversify beyond the physical port hub will be the ones who are able to succeed in the future. We call on all the main shipping hubs to continue investing in education, R&D and new services; remain open to global talent and offer an attractive international business environment,” said Mark Jackson, chief executive of Baltic Exchange.

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