Singapore MPA Announces More Concessions
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is expanding its financial support for the maritime industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A S$27 million ($19 million) MaritimeSG Together Package will take effect from May 1 and comes in addition to previous measures announced under the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets.
The package will provide financial support to companies and individuals, financial and employment support to Singaporean seafarers and 30 percent port dues concession for all cargo vessels. The MPA has already announced a 50 percent port dues concession for passenger vessels from March 1 to December 31, 2020. The port dues concession for cargo vessels will apply from May 1 to December 31, 2020 and will apply to ocean-going vessels with a port stay of not more than five days. Offshore vessels in port for offshore support will receive a 50 percent port dues concession for day 91 to day 180.
The MPA will also grant a 30 percent port dues concession for all non passenger-carrying harbourcraft in the Port of Singapore over the same period. The MPA had earlier announced a 35 percent rebate to regional ferry operators to offset their monthly rental fees for overnight berthing of vessels and counter rental at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal for three months starting March 2020. This will now be increased to 50 percent until December 31, 2020.
In recognition of the challenges maritime companies may face managing their cash flows, the MPA will exercise flexibility in credit management measures from May 1 to December 31, 2020.
The MPA will increase the funding it provides under selected Maritime Cluster Fund programs. It will co-fund 50 percent of the internship allowance paid by maritime companies, capped at $500 per month per intern, for up to a maximum period of six months. It will also increase its co-funding support under selected Maritime Cluster Fund schemes to up to 90 to encourage upskilling and to support maritime companies in their digital transformation.
The MPA has been facilitating the return of Singaporean seafarers signing off when their ships call at Singapore. The MPA says there are about 500 Singaporean seafarers, and the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union will roll out a relief package for eligible seafarers who are unable to secure shipboard employment.
To enable the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) cadets to complete their diploma and obtain their Certificate of Competencies as scheduled despite disruptions to their shipboard training, the MPA and SMA will allow for online training and the deferring of shipboard training. The MPA has also started to carry out oral examinations via video-conferencing.
The MPA will provide a one-off increase of $50,000 to its annual contribution of $150,000 to the seafarer missions in May 2020. The annual grant supports a wide range of welfare services for seafarers calling at the port including free counselling services and pastoral care which are both available online.