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Supply chain to remain under stress, opportunity for digitalisation and decarbonisation

Photo: Marcus Hand Quah_Ley_Hoon_SMW2022_Briefing.JPG
Singapore expects the supply chain remain under stress and for its port to continue playing a role as a location for shipping companies to catch up on schedules.

Speaking at a pre-Singapore Maritime Week media briefing, Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said they saw three major trends at play in the current global market.

First was the supply chain, “it will remain under stress in view of the Russia Ukraine war, with implications of many sectors including energy and food,” Quah said.

The second trend was a shortage of workers in ports around the world meaning that terminals were unable to operate to their full capacity. “We are also observing how countries are having a shortage in terms of port workers shortage of labour, a shortage of hauliers, for example, this could affect port operations reducing the efficiency of the port.”

This will result in continued schedule disruption for shipping lines. “We do expect that to continue to see disrupted vessels and also disrupted vessel schedules. We also expect to see continued trends of unscheduled calls on ports around the world,” she said.

With disrupted vessel schedules Singapore continues to see a role for itself as a port where shipping lines can try and catch up. Singapore is the world’s largest container transhipment hub and a key node in the East – West trade.

“The port of Singapore will continue to do our part in the midst of global supply chain disruption as a catch-up port. We will ensure that marine services including bunkering and crew change are provided in a timely manner for ships calling at the port including unscheduled ones,” Quah explained.

The third trend she described as a “silver lining” with disruption also providing a window of opportunity in terms of developing digitalisation and decarbonisation of shipping.

“We do expect that we can push forward on quite a number of initiatives including digitalisation and decarbonisation, including to new focus, or renewed focus during Singapore Maritime Week.”

The 16th Singapore Maritime Week is being held on 4 – 8 April with both in-person and hybrid formats. It is anchored on the theme of “Transformation for Growth” with four key areas – innovation, sustainability, services, and talent.

The week’s opening will be officiated by Singapore Minister of Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S Iswaran, followed by the Singapore Maritime Lecture given by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister of Economic Policies, Heng Swee Keat.

To learn more about Singapore Maritime Week 2022 make sure to tune into tomorrow’s edition of The Maritime Podcast featuring MPA Assistant Chief Executive Kenneth Lim.