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Singapore port: containers up 1.6%, bunker sales down in 2019

Singapore, the world’s second largest container port, saw marginal growth of 1.6% last year, while bunker sales in the biggest global marine refuelling hub.

The performance figures for Singapore port were announced by Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport, at the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) New Year Cocktail reception on Monday evening.

“Global economic activity was weak, with global growth at about 3%. While overall freight rates improved in 2019, global container throughput growth has generally slowed. The US-China trade war was a major source of uncertainty, dragging down sentiments across markets,” Lam told guests at the reception.

Singapore’s container throughput grew 1.6% to 37.2m teu last year compared to 36.6m teu.

The Lion City is the world’s largest bunkering port and fuels and the IMO 2020 low sulphur regulation have been a dominant theme over the last year.

“For most parts of last year, shipping companies did not know for sure whether compliant fuels would be available in sufficient quantities and at a quality required to meet the IMO 2020 0.5% global sulphur cap regulation that came into force at the start of the year. The price differential between compliant fuels and high sulphur fuel oil was an issue of much speculation,” Lam commented.

According to the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) there 47.5m tonnes of bunkers sold in the port last year down from 49.8m in 2018.

“As part of our preparations for IMO 2020, we made clear very early on that we would be ready to supply compliant fuels to ships calling at our port,” he added.

Vessel arrival tonnage was up 2.2% last year to 2.85bn tonnes.

Singapore continues to attract to new countries to its shores and Lam stressed transparency, consistency of policy, and a pro-environment.

aspsmf2020.jpgFor SMF, chairman Andreas Sohmen-Pao noted one of its two important objectives was: “To strengthen connectivity for the maritime community here – attracting shipping companies, helping to build the eco-system, and encouraging collaboration.”

Among the companies to set up in Singapore last year were German joint venture OneBulk, Singapore Marine, and Britannia P&I established its Singapore Branch.

The SMF’s other key objective is talent development and Sohmen-Pao said: “MaritimeONE awarded a total of 43 scholars at the MaritimeONE Scholarship Awards Ceremony – the highest number of scholars awarded thus far.

“Out of these scholars, three were from non-maritime backgrounds, and we are delighted to see an increasing number of such students applying for the scholarship to support the industry’s need for a diversified talent pool.”

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