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Singapore offers $19m under COVID-19 relief package to maritime sector

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has announced a MaritimeSG Together Package to provide financial support to the maritime industry amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The MaritimeSG Together Package, which will take effect from 1 May, amounts to about SGD27m ($19m).

The package includes a 30% port dues concession, on top of all existing port dues concessions, for ocean-going cargo vessels with port stays of no more than five days from 1 May to 31 December 2020.

MPA has earlier announced a 50% port dues concession for passenger vessels from 1 March to 31 December 2020.

The port authority has also offered a 50% rebate on counter rental and overnight berthing for regional ferry operators until 31 December 2020, up from an earlier 35% rebate.

To strengthen long term capabilities, MPA is introducing new manpower schemes and increasing the co-funding provided under selected Maritime Cluster Fund schemes from 1 May to 31 December 2020.  The schemes seek to encourage upskilling and further support maritime companies in their digital transformation efforts.

A new Maritime Cluster Fund-Internship Reimbursement Scheme will help companies continue to provide local students with internship opportunities. MPA will co-fund 50% of the internship allowance paid by maritime companies, capped at SGD500 per month per intern, for up to a maximum period of six months.

MPA also recognises that maritime companies may face challenges in managing their cash flows and meeting their financial obligations. The port authority intends to exercise flexibility in credit management measure as well.

In the support of seafarers, MPA and the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU) will roll out the Seafarers Relief Package for eligible seafarers who are unable to secure shipboard employment between 1 May to 31 July 2020, with financial assistance of up to SGD800 a month.

MPA will provide a one-off increase of SGD50,000 to its annual contribution of SGD150,000 to the seafarer missions in May. The annual grant supports a wide range of welfare services for seafarers including free counselling services and pastoral care.

“The effect of global supply chain disruption is increasingly being felt by the shipping industry. It is timely that more support be offered to the industry,” said Quah Ley Hoon, chief executive of MPA.

“The MaritimeSG Together Package aims to provide targeted support for the maritime companies, individuals, and seafarers. They have been working tirelessly to keep our ports open and cargoes going. I am confident that this will better position Maritime Singapore for the new normal post COVID-19,” she said.

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