Singapore retains ranking as busiest port in 2006

All-round trade growth is buttressing Singapore’s position as the world’s busiest container port and ship fuelling hotspot, despite increased competition from China and other parts of the world.

In the latest numbers, a record 24.8 million container loads passed through the Singapore port last year.

And to top it all, numbers for fuel sales and ship calls also hit record highs.

2006 was a bumper year for Singapore’s maritime and shipping industry.

The sector moved a record number of containers, sold a record amount of fuel, and docked a record number of ships, outstripping the record numbers achieved in 2005.

Industry leaders said that did not come easy, given the increased competition from new ports in China and around the world.

“Competition not only from China but globally as well, because shipping is a global business. But it’s a different market, so sometimes we complement each other… And for us, we’re competing with the world. But sometimes, even between ports, we can work together,” said Teo Siong Seng, chairman of Singapore Maritime Foundation.

In 2006, ship calls in Singapore hit 1.3 billion gross tonnes – up 14% – and crossing the 1 billion mark for the second straight year.

Meantime, ship fuel sales jumped 11% to reach some 28 million tonnes.

The sterling numbers were unveiled by Transport Minister Raymond Lim at an industry event on Wednesday evening.

The minister also said that 2006 saw significant milestones in the industry. These included working with industry partners to grow and attract more talent, as well as enhancing Singapore port’s competitiveness, especially in the area of security.

Going forward, the industry expects to heighten its profile on the world stage with an inaugural global event, Sea Asia 2007, to be held in Singapore.

“We feel that Asia, controlling more than 40% of the world tonnage, deserves to have a major event, not only to showcase Asian maritime industry, but also to raise an Asian voice. So it’s a very important event, not only for Singapore, but for Asia,” said Teo.

Recruiting and nurturing talent will also be another key focus area for industry players in 2007.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 11 January 2007 

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