Singapore Maritime Week Showcases "Top" City for Shipping

Singapore anchorage

Published Apr 21, 2024 8:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Singapore Maritime Week is an opportunity to showcase one of the world's most dynamic maritime cities, and this year's edition did not disappoint. IMO Secretary General Arsenio Dominguez headlined a marquee lineup of dignitaries who came to celebrate Singapore's role as an innovation hub. 

"Countries like Singapore . . . have been helpful and proactive – actually taking the time to design projects with us, to look into the needs of countries in the region,” said Dominguez. “From there, [the IMO] can replicate the success of these projects in other regions.”

Singapore has world-class resources in ports, logistics, law, shipmanagement and seafarer training, and has led the world's maritime cities in annual rankings for five years running. This year's DNV-Menon Leading Maritime Cities report put Singapore in the top spot once again, followed by Rotterdam, London and Shanghai.

"Singapore is undoubtedly the world-leading hub at the forefront of the maritime industry. It appears unaffected by the many changes currently sweeping the sector and is expected to maintain its top spot for the next five years," said DNV's Dr. Shahrin Osman, report co-author.

Part of the reason for this long-term achievement is in Singapore's perpetual commitment to improvement. “A rising tide can lift all boats, but the boat and its crew can only benefit if they are well-prepared when the water level rises,” said Singaporean transport minister Chee Hong Tat in an opening-ceremony speech. He added that the city-state cannot take its future success for granted, and called for ambitious levels of investment in maritime infrastructure and technology.

Those investments have already made Singapore a leading hub for green technology and digitalization. It is a pacesetter in green bunkering, including LNG, methanol and (soon to come) ammonia; it has set up an innovation center for maritime AI and machine learning in partnership with Amazon; and it is pushing its busy harbor-craft sector to switch to battery-electric propulsion (or other clean options). 

Location also helps. Singapore is a crossroads for global trade, and is an ideal stopover point for bunkering, crew change and transshipment. That's an advantage for its shipowners too, says Yuichi Sonoda, Secretary General of the Asian Shipowners Association (ASA). "The role of ASA is further increasing, as we are in a geographically advantageous position in the global economy," he said at a conference panel.