Editorial / 28 Apr 2024

Call to action sounded for Singapore

‘Actions Meet Ambition’ – that was the key message of the annual Singapore Maritime Week, which attracted more than 10,000 industry professionals from nearly 80 countries to Asia’s leading maritime hub this month.

That theme was built around four pillars: decarbonisation, digitalisation, services and talent development.

In his speech opening the event, Minister for Transport Mr Chee Hong Tat said Singapore’s container throughput in 2023 reached a new high of 39.0 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), an increase of 4.6% compared to 2022 and surpassing the previous record of 37.6 million TEUs in 2021. And in the first quarter of 2024, Singapore’s port saw an rise in vessel arrival tonnage of 7.3% compared to the same period last year.

According to a study by DNV and Menon Economics, Singapore is still the world’s leading maritime hub. And with the Lion City expected to keep the top spot for the foreseeable future, GAC Singapore is playing its part.

Green goals
In parallel with the government goal to increase port activity, the Maritime Port and Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced domestic targets for port and terminal operators to reach net zero by 2050. This includes all new harbour craft to be fully electric, capable of using B100 biofuel or compatible with net zero fuels from 2030 onwards. Meanwhile, Singapore’s primary port operator PSA Singapore has set the target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and has pledged to further reduce energy consumption at Tuas Port through smart grid solutions, battery energy storage systems and optimisation of container handling processes.

The country’s first fully electric cargo vessel, the Hydromover, has been launched to work as a lighter craft in the port. An electric harbourcraft, X Tron, has also been debuted by Pyxis, one of GAC Singapore's Green Ally Champions, and pilot trials will be run with selected customers once the vessel is ready.

A slew of further announcements were made during Singapore Maritime Week to meet the nation’s decarbonisation and digitalisation ambitions, including:

  • A New Maritime Facility to be set up progressively by 2026 to train maritime workers to handle clean marine fuels. It will be spread across the country and will include a new dual-fuel marine engine simulator to facilitate the training of safe handling, bunkering or refuelling of vessels and incident management in the use of alternative fuels.

  • Partnership with Amazon Web Services: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a memorandum of understanding with Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, to support the maritime industry’s digital transformation and green transition at the ‘Accelerating Digitalisation and Decarbonisation Conference’ during Singapore Maritime Week. This will lead to the development of the maritime ‘Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI–ML) Digital Hub’ - the first-of-its-kind in the ASEAN region which will use AWS cloud to enable the maritime industry to pilot innovative AI and generative AI capabilities to trial on Green and Digital Shipping Corridors which optimise routes and fuel consumption, carbon emissions accounting, and just-in-time arrivals.

  • MPA Receives Proposals to Supply Methanol Bunkers – The MPA has received 50 proposals from around the world to supply methanol bunkers - a clear sign that Singapore is a key location for methanol.

  • Singapore-Rotterdam Green & Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) received new global value-chain partners to accelerate digitalisation and decarbonisation goals. The GDSC has 26 global value-chain partners, comprising shipping lines, fuel suppliers, port authorities, industry coalitions, banks, top educational institutions, and knowledge partners.
Ingapore march 4 2020 cityscape seaport singapore

Important hub, collaborative effort
The GAC Group has long recognised the importance of the city for shipping, making it home to its Asia Pacific regional office and a strategic base for its regional Hub Agency Centre and GAC Bunker Fuels, in addition to its flourishing local operation.

Ship agents like GAC will play a key role in Singapore future of greater activity at high-tech green ports, as trusted partners of shipowners, operators and charterers. They manage and facilitate logistical activities, regulatory compliance, and operational support, ensuring that vessels are efficiently serviced and cargo is handled with care.

GAC Singapore has contributed to the port’s reputation and attractiveness as a destination for maritime trade and investment with its effective ship agency services and integrated range of other shipping, logistics and marine support. From sustainability aims to supporting the technological development of ports and adapting to future fuels, this agenda is consistent with the company’s vision and commitment to collaboration to make positive change.

Green allies
GAC Singapore is one of 15 partners that make up the Green Ally Champions (GAC), a group of like-minded companies working towards greater sustainability. Together, they are working on sustainability initiatives supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for Climate Action and Partnership for the Goals.

“This year’s Singapore Maritime Week underlined the importance of working together to ensure we all play our part in ensuring that maritime players decarbonise their operations and embrace a sustainable future,” says Managing Director Sofie Bager.

Sofie Bager JGJL3147

“We must all take responsibility for taking the action that is needed to meet the ambitions that have been set.

“The road to net zero is not easy. It is a journey we are on together with many different stakeholders. We can make it smoother through learning, sharing experiences, exchanging perspectives and working together towards a common goal.

“To keep up with the growing momentum in the ports and sustainability, we will continue to evolve and offer a range of ship agency and logistical services with end-to-end supply chain solutions within the region.”

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