Singapore has clinched the world’s maritime capital title for the fourth time in a row.
This, despite climate change effects which liquefied the Arctic ice and unlocked substitute paths for cargo ships plying Asia and Europe, simultaneously sidetracking trade from the Malacca and Singapore Straits, thereby posing a challenge to Singapore’s maritime position.
Topping the list of the world’s maritime capitals reflects Singapore’s capability of navigating the challenges and opportunities generated by the said driving forces. The said capability also decided the Republic’s status as a global hub port and international maritime centre.
The recognition was, according to Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore chief executive Quah Ley Hoon, “an affirmation of Singapore’s commitment to develop and grow the maritime industry.”
Singapore has repeatedly topped the Leading Maritime Capitals of the World report – released once every two years by risk management firm DNV GL and consultancy firm Menon Economics – since 2012 when it was first published. The latest report was released on Wednesday (April 10) at the Sea Asia conference, held in concurrence with Singapore Maritime Week.
Hamburg in Germany was ranked 2nd and 3rd was Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Hong Kong landed in 4th place, while London placed 5th.
The report appraised 15 maritime capitals on five areas – shipping, maritime finance and law, maritime technology, ports and logistics, as well as attractiveness and competitiveness.
Singapore excelled in three areas – shipping, ports and logistics, and attractiveness and competition.
The report likewise underscored Singapore’s continuing initiatives to reinforce its attractiveness as a maritime hub.
Singapore’s port is one of the world’s busiest, with container throughput hitting 36.6 million 20-foot equivalent units and vessel arrival tonnage hitting 2.79 billion gross tonnes in 2018.
“Geography is not destiny. It can neither prescribe our failure nor promise our success,” Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing once said in the 13th Singapore Maritime Lecture to 400 maritime professionals at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Singapore has repositioned itself not just as a port operator, but a “global maritime platform,” transcending its dependence on its geographical advantages.
“Amid global uncertainties, the true measure of our strength will once again be how we rise to meet the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow,” the minister said.