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Trade growth and drive for efficiency tops agenda at Sea Asia opening day

Trade growth and drive for efficiency tops agenda at Sea Asia opening day
Leaders at today’s opening of Sea Asia 2015 have highlighted the need for shipping companies to drive greater operational efficiencies in order to capture trade growth opportunities and survive the short-term challenges of today’s environment.

Taking place in Singapore until Thursday 23 April, Sea Asia brings together leaders of the maritime and offshore industries to discuss, debate and analyse challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Defence Mr Lui Tuck Yew said Asia is fast becoming the engine of global growth and that the maritime industry needs to be prepared.

“All signs suggest that Asia will drive global shipping in the coming years. Shipping patterns have shifted and will continue to move towards Asia. In 2014, Asia accounted for almost 80 per cent of global container throughput.

”Experts on the panel of the Sea Asia Global Forum agreed with Mr Lui and commented that growing economies present exciting opportunities for shipping and the broader maritime sector, particularly in Asia.

However, they added that with a number of challenges on the horizon, companies must operate as efficiently as they can to survive.

Managing Director Pacific International Lines Mr S.S Teo said: “The shipping industry is facing some short term pressure which means one has to be as efficient as they can.

“It’s not just about the size, it’s also about how you well you run your services with most efficient ships using technology and IT,” he said.

Precious Shipping Ltd Managing Director Mr Khalid Hashim agreed, saying: “It’s a question of survival over the next few years and to do this companies need to take action now to drive down costs and improve efficiencies.

“They need to scrap, get rid of any non-core assets and raise finance to survive the current challenges that the industry is facing.

Overcapacity is one of the short-term challenges which is being compounded by softening demand in key markets, said Mr Hashim.

“China’s steel production was flat last year while demand for coal dropped 40 per cent. These trends are bad news for the dry bulk shipping market which transports these key commodities.”

The Sea Asia Global Forum panellists commented that while the industry is facing challenges, they are optimistic for the future.

Chairman of BW Group Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao said: "The unprecedented growth of the middle class in emerging markets, cheaper energy and raw materials, and rapid technological advances make me very optimistic for the medium-term, even though there are plenty of near-term challenges."

Mr Teo added that by 2030, 50 per cent of the world’s middle class is expected to be in Asia.

“At the same time, trade agreements such as the ASEAN Economic Community and the Trans-Pacific-Partnership will drive the movement of goods here in Asia and around the world – a real opportunity for the shipping sector,” he said.

Maritime industry leaders highlighted the importance of coming together to discuss and analyse the industry’s opportunities and challenges and pointed to Sea Asia as a key platform to do this.

Seatrade Chairman Chris Hayman said: “Since the first event in 2007, Sea Asia has trebled in size and this year we are expecting over 14,000 attendees at Sea Asia from around 70 countries.

“This event gives us all the opportunity to hear the voice of Asian shipping, as the leaders of the industry in this region, and their counterparts from around the world, tell us what they are expecting from the complex environment they now face,” he said.

- ENDS -    

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About Sea Asia

Sea Asia, an international conference and exhibition for the maritime and offshore industries, is returning for the 5th edition from 21 to 23 April 2015 at the Marina Bay Sands®, Singapore. Sea Asia serves as a focal point for both the global and local maritime communities to network, explore new businesses, and showcase the latest maritime innovations, equipment and services. Co-organised by Seatrade and the Singapore Maritime Foundation, Sea Asia is an anchor event held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week and is well-attended by the most influential and respected leaders in the industry. The 3-day Sea Asia conference will bring forth the latest discussion and debates on key trends, opportunities and challenges facing the maritime industry.

Sea Asia is supported by principal sponsors Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Ltd, DP World UAE Region, Executive Ship Management,  Lloyd’s Register, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), Sohar Port & Freezone, as well as sponsors ABS, Admiralty, AXSMARINE, ClassNK, DNVGL, G Travel, Hempel, JTJB LLP, Keppel Offshore & Marine, LUKOIL Marine Lubricants,  M3 Marine Group Pte Ltd,  Mobil Industrial Lubricants, Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd, PANAMA MARITIME AUTHORITY, WORLDWIDE LEADER FLAG STATE, PSA Corporation Limited, QBE INSURANCE (INTERNATIONAL) LIMITED, ,Singtel, The Standard Club Asia Ltd, Veritas Petroleum Services, and Zamil Offshore.

For more information, please visit

About Seatrade

Seatrade provides a range of global events, websites and publications that covers every aspect of the cruise and maritime industries, bringing together key people to encourage innovation and to produce powerful learning, networking and promotional platforms.  Founded in 1970, Seatrade was acquired recently in 2014 by UBM, the world's second largest media and event organiser. Seatrade sits with the UBM EMEA, which connects people and creates opportunities for companies to develop new business, meet customers, launch new products, promote brands and expand markets. Operating in over 23 countries, UBM EMEA organizes many of the world's largest, most important exhibitions, conferences, awards, directories, websites and publications in a wide variety of industries.

For full details about this event, visit Find out more about Seatrade and UBM, visit and

About the Singapore Maritime Foundation

Established in 2004, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) is a private sector-led organisation that seeks to develop and promote Singapore as an International Maritime Centre (IMC). As the representative voice for the commercial players of the maritime industry, SMF seeks to forge strong partnerships with the public and private sectors of the maritime industry. SMF spearheads initiatives to promote the diverse clusters of the maritime industry in Singapore and at international frontiers, and to attract young talents to join the sector. SMF is directed by its Board of Directors which comprises prominent leaders in the Singapore maritime community. For details, visit