n 2003, the Economic Review Committee adopted a recommendation which effectively changed the future of Maritime Singapore. Commonly referred to as ‘London Plus’, the committee’s vision was to develop Singapore into a premier International Maritime Centre (IMC).
The core of ‘London Plus’ was to maintain and leverage on Singapore’s excellence in port handling facilities, ship registry, ship repairs and logistics, while developing the ‘softer’ aspects of the transport and logistics services and human resource sectors.
Today, Singapore is home to more than 140 international shipping groups. Also here are international maritime-related organisations and associations, such as the Baltic Exchange, Asian Shipowners’ Forum, International Bunker Industry Association, International Association of Independent Tanker Owners and Baltic and International Maritime Council.
Complementing the maritime ecosystem is an established pool of international trading, commodity and logistics players.
To stay relevant amidst seismic shifts in markets, innovations and technologies, a comprehensive review was undertaken. Chaired by Andreas Sohmen-Pao, chairman, BW Group Limited, the high-powered IMC 2030 Advisory Committee completed the review in September 2017. They considered Singapore’s achievements as an IMC, identified key trends which might impact future IMC competitiveness, and mapped out a developmental strategy to take Singapore’s IMC to 2030 and beyond.
The committee reaffirmed Singapore’s global hub port and its position as an IMC as the twin engines of growth. Singapore should therefore continue to invest in new port capacity and future capabilities. The IMC cluster can benefit by further entrenching maritime players in Singapore and broadening the depth and range of activities, including possible co-location of existing and new maritime-related ones.
Singapore will also have to strengthen links with adjacent industries such as commodity trading, logistics and e-commerce, as well as with other complementary international maritime clusters through stronger business ties, collaborations on research and development, training and education, and development of new international standards and regulations.
Innovation should also remain a key focus of Singapore’s IMC, said the committee. This will enable the development of future capabilities and solutions that build on emerging technologies, such as autonomous systems, robotics, data analytics and artificial intelligence.
As talent remains a critical success factor, Maritime Singapore will need to continue building a future-ready workforce with relevant skills and a global mindset that anticipates the future needs of the industry.
Said Mr Pao: “The successful growth of Singapore’s maritime sector over the past decade has been founded on a clear strategy, effective implementation, and strong alignment between the government and the maritime community. These factors are even more relevant at a time where the outlook is less certain and where the emphasis is shifting from physical to virtual flows.
“Connectivity, innovation and talent are seen as the best ways to remain responsive to changing conditions, and the report provides action-oriented recommendations to be ready for future challenges and opportunities.”
Recommendations of the IMC 2030 strategic review were incorporated in the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map unveiled in January 2018.