Issue Five – February 2012
Issue 4 The Singapore Maritime Foundation’s (SMF) New Year Cocktail Reception 2012 was celebrated against the backdrop of the European and US debt crisis, rising oil prices fuelled by the political unrest in the Middle East and depressed chartering and freight rates. Like other sectors, the maritime sector has and will continue to face challenging economic climate, given the global and volatile nature of the business.

However, we must not take all this as gloom and doom. Shipping remains the key facilitator of world trade. The long-term prospect of the trade, in particular, in Asia, is certainly bright and investors are well-aware of this fact. Today, Asian shipowners own more than 50% of the world’s merchant fleet and Asia is fast emerging as the new centre of shipping.

On the offshore-energy and shipyard sector front, the outlook is certainly more upbeat. With the bumper of contracts that were placed in the last two years, shipyards will continue to have a busy year with a record breaking number of rig deliveries in 2012. The strong global demand for oil will also continue to generate steady investments in the offshore-energy sector.

As shipping is inherently global, we can expect our industry to have our fair share of challenges to overcome. Despite the rough waters ahead, I believe that we will be able to band together, with the tripartite partnership between the government, in particular, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the maritime community and the associations, and emerge from the rough waters, stronger than ever.

SMF was founded in 2004 as a private sector-led organisation to work in partnership with the government to formulate initiatives in line with Singapore’s vision to be a leading international maritime centre. Throughout these years, many maritime leaders had served as our Board Members, including Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was then Chief Executive of MPA, Mr S.S. Teo, Managing Director of Pacific International Lines, Dato Jude Benny, Managing Partner of Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP, just to name a few. SMF is privileged to have the guidance of these maritime luminaries who worked alongside with the SMF Secretariat to steer milestone initiatives which will raise the profile of the Singapore maritime sector and attract outstanding individuals to be part of the maritime talent pool.

I would like to pay special tribute to two outgoing Board Members, Mr Kuok Khoon Kuan, Managing Director of Pacific Carriers Ltd and Mr Christopher Lau, Senior Counsel, Chartered Arbitrator of Christopher Lau SC (Singapore), and another outgoing Advisory Panel Member, Mr Rohet Tolani, Managing Director of Tolani Shipping (S) Pte Ltd, for their years of contributions to SMF. K.K. is one of the pioneer members of SMF who has played an instrumental role in laying the strong foundation for SMF.

We would also like to welcome Mrs Gina Lee-Wan, Partner of Allen & Gledhill LLP and Mr Henry Mytton-Mills, Managing Director of Aries Shipbroking (Asia) Pte Ltd to the SMF Board. Both Gina and Henry are no strangers to SMF as they were in our Advisory Panel previously and they were actively involved in the development of the Singapore Ship Sale Form.

SMF will continue to serve the maritime community, in good times and bad. In this Year of the Dragon, SMF will work closely with the public and private sectors to spearhead initiatives that will be beneficial to the maritime sector and we look forward to your continued support.

With best wishes,

Michael Chia
Singapore Maritime Foundation