SPEECH BY MR NIAM CHIANG MENG, CHAIRMAN OF MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE AT THE MARITIMEONE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS CEREMONY, 11 AUGUST 2017, 7.00PM AT CONRAD CENTENNIAL HOTEL, THE BALLROOM, SINGAPORE
14 August 2017
Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chairman, Singapore Maritime Foundation
Mr Esben Poulsson, President of the Singapore Shipping Association
Mr Ong Poh Kwee, Vice President, Association of Singapore Marine Industries
Award recipients and parents,
1. Let me first congratulate our 49 outstanding young recipients who have been awarded the MaritimeONE or TMSS scholarship and warmly welcome you into the maritime industry. We had 251 applicants this year each of whom went through several rounds of assessment. We were looking for the best not just on the basis of grades but also in terms of leadership qualities and passion for the industry. The 49 of you stood out in your passion, aptitude and leadership qualities.
2. To all parents, thank you for joining us this evening. Your presence is important as it signifies support of your child’s career choice and aspiration. He or she will be joining an exciting industry that offers diverse career opportunities. Our past MaritimeONE scholars have pursued successful careers as Brokers, Charterers or Managers in Port Operations. Previous TMSS scholars have taken on senior positions such as captains and technical superintendents.
3. Over the years, the close partnership with the industry and unions has strengthened Maritime Singapore. The sector presently employs over 170,000 people in more than 5000 establishments and contributes to about seven per cent to our nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Today, we are recognised as both a premier global hub port and a leading international maritime centre. Earlier this year, we were named Asia’s best seaport for the 29th consecutive time at the Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain (AFLAS) Award ceremony. We were also rated as the top global maritime capital by Menon Economics for the third time. And just last month, Singapore retained its top position for the fourth time in the latest Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Centre Development Index Report for its comprehensive strength in port conditions, maritime services and business environment.
4. As we celebrate these successes, we must be mindful of global industry trends such as technology advancements, digitalisation, additive manufacturing, and rise of e-commerce that may shape the way the maritime industry has to adjust in the near and longer term. Other industries face similar issues. For instance Uber’s ride-hailing app has disrupted the taxi industry. Uber is now the biggest taxi company in the world although it does not own a car. Airbnb have similarly transformed the hotel industry. Today they have over three million rooms listed in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. They have more hotel rooms than the biggest hotel management company in the world.
5. The maritime sector too will have to explore new business models or harness new technology to remain competitive. You may have heard of Maersk’s tie-up with Alibaba, an on-line platform to tap on a new pool of customers or the use of block chain to track the flow of goods, or drones being tested for delivery of supplies to vessels. Nearer home, PSA has also piloted the use of autonomous guided vehicles at Pasir Panjang Terminals to transport containers between the quay side and the container yards.
6. We are also working on an Industry Transformation Map (ITM) with the maritime community. It will serve as a blueprint that encompasses strategies for productivity improvement, innovation and the right skills to drive future industry growth.
7. This year we celebrate 10 years of MaritimeONE partnership. To our scholarship sponsors, thank you for your continuous support. It is heartening to note that you continue to invest and nurture our maritime manpower notwithstanding the current difficulties. The 49 scholarships totalling close to $1.8 million will add to the pipeline of the next generation of talents for the continued success of Maritime Singapore.
8. Before I end, let me just share with you the stories of four MaritimeONE and TMSS scholars and why they chose maritime as a career option.
Profile Scholars – 2017 MaritimeONE Scholars
9. For Mr Ryan Foo, maritime runs in his family. His cousin, Mr Raymond Tan was a participant of the programme in 2010. Ryan recalled picking up Raymond from the airport when the latter returned from his Norway exchange programme. Seeing Raymond’s photographs of his Norwegian experience, Ryan learnt that the maritime industry is a global industry with an international workforce and diverse work opportunities. Intrigued by the travel opportunities that Cousin Raymond was presented with for work and studies, and encouraged by his cousin, Ryan applied for and is tonight awarded with a PIL - MaritimeONE scholarship.
10. Mr Muhd Hadi too considered an education in maritime under the influence of his grandfather, Mr Juma’at Bin Hassan who was a pilot with PSA Marine. Muhd Hadi recalled his grandfather’s stories about his adventures at sea which aroused his curiosity about the maritime industry. During his visit to the Singapore Polytechnic’s Open House, he was fascinated by the Navigation Simulator housed within the Singapore Maritime Academy. Tonight Mr Muhd Hadi will be joining the maritime fraternity and receiving his SMA-MaritimeOne Scholarship.
Profile Scholars – 2017 TMSS Scholars
11. TMSS Scholar, Mr Joseph Chew did well for his ‘O’ levels and was exploring his options. While his mother’s preference was for him to enrol into a junior college and pursue a university degree, Joseph chose to pursue a Diploma in Marine Engineering at Singapore Polytechnic as it meets his ambition to be an engineer on board a ship to explore the world.
12. Joseph’s mother has since been convinced that the TMSS award will offer him an opportunity to gain a head start in his marine engineering career and to pursue his dream of being a Chief Engineer.
13. In the case of Ms Nurul Fazirah, she has always loved looking at ships and reading books on how ships operate since young. At the age of 13, she accompanied her father, who was then a ship broker, for a ship inspection on board a tanker. That visit reinforced Fazirah’s dream to command a vessel as a ship captain one day.
14. We are happy that Fazirah is en route to realising her ambition. Today, she will be awarded a scholarship by Xpress Feeders to pursue a Diploma in Nautical Studies. She hopes to be an inspiration and mentor to young female seafarers in future. We wish her the very best.
15. In closing, let me once again offer my heartiest congratulations to you our scholars, and your family. I wish you all the best in your studies and all of us will look forward to welcoming you to the maritime industry when you graduate.
16. Thank you and have a pleasant evening.