28 August 2017

Your Excellency Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Keiichi Ishii
Ambassador Kenji Shinoda
Distinguished Guests and Speakers
Ladies and Gentlemen

 Good Afternoon


2 I am honoured to speak at today’s “Port Seminar”.  Before I begin, I would like to first thank MLIT and the Embassy of Japan for organising this important event.

3 Singapore and Japan enjoy a close and longstanding relationship.  Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.  On the maritime front, both our countries work collectively to address international maritime challenges at the International Maritime Organization, tackle piracy through the ReCAAP platform, and ensure safe and open navigation for international shipping in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

4 The MPA and the Ports of Harbour Bureau of MLIT signed a Memorandum of Co-operation or MOC in April this year that widened the range of co-operative activities between both sides.  The MOC will spur greater co-operation in port-related areas, including port planning, port management and technological development in the port sector.  Activities have followed quickly under this MOC beginning with the maritime transport personnel exchange programme – Just three weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Mr Ishihara and Mr Suzuki, who are looking at the development of LNG bunkering. In November, another two officers will be joining us to learn about Singapore’s Next Generation Container Terminal, or NGP 2030 for short.  Next year, MPA will also attach officers to MLIT.

5 In fact, our strong ties go beyond co-operation at the government level as Japanese NGOs such as the Malacca Strait Council and the Nippon Foundation are active stakeholders and contributors to enhancing international co-operation in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

6 As leading maritime countries with many common interests, I believe there is still a potential for us to further grow our maritime collaborations.  I am therefore pleased to note that in addition to LNG bunkering, the agenda for today’s seminar will also cover port developments for the future. As we all know, ports are seeing a revival of sort, not only in this part of the world but in many other parts of the world as infrastructure is being upgraded, similar to Singapore’s next generation container port, to cater to the fleet for the East-West trade to handle the very large container vessels or mega vessels as we call them. And also, the consolidation that has taken place in the shipping industry, mega alliances with their huge ships will require ports who can handle these large capacity once trade growth and economy begins to expand. All these means opportunities for the industry, for service providers and also for port authorities like ours working together with others to learn as much as we can from one another and I think Japan and Singapore (are) both fairly advanced countries in the area of port development and can learn much from each other.  


7 I would like to highlight also that recently the MPA along with several agencies met a large team in Japan where we visited the port in Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo as well as Yokohama. The trip was very fruitful – We had the opportunity to gain insights into not only the development of ports but also the port master planning involving the rest of the hinterland. So then, when we look at the port, we don’t just look at the ports as self-contained parcels of land but also in context of the development around the port itself. If you have read in the papers today, Singapore has also launched the Jurong Lake district concept plan of which, Tuas mega-port is listed as one of the drivers of the new growth. This means that connectivity between the port and the surrounding area in the Jurong lake district is enhanced, we have our new second central business district, second CBD for short, with new industries and economic activities that may develop in the western region of Singapore. So I think there’s much we can learn from one another and I certainly hope that we can build a port that is not just more efficient, more intelligent but also safe and secure, and also at the same time, more sustainable.


9 Now LNG bunkering is another area which Singapore and Japan works closely together on.

10 In Singapore, we are ready to conduct LNG bunkering operations.

11 In May, Pavilion Gas conducted a LNG bunkering demonstration, the first of its kind in this region.  In June, we had the bunkering of the “Cardissa” directly through SLNG, as it stopped by Singapore en-route to Rotterdam.  Presently, gas commissioning works for the SLNG Hilli, “Golar Hilli” which uses LNG from trucks at Keppel Shipyard is underway.  From 2018, that is next year, we will see regular LNG bunkering operations in Singapore when harbour craft co-funded under MPA’s Singapore $12 Million funding programme comes into operation. The first will be a tug boat that is owned by Keppel SMIT.  Overall, MPA’s LNG bunkering pilot programme has been progressing well and on schedule.

12 On the international front, we continue to work hard with our partners including Japan, to drive the global LNG bunkering agenda.  The LNG bunkering focus group now comprise 11 members, having expanded recently, with Japan, South Korea who joined in 2016, and most recently, also the first Chinese port, Ningbo-Zhoushan, which as we know has climbed up in terms of its ranking in terms of container volumes handled from the time that I joined the industry about four years ago. Besides Ningbo-Zhoushan, Port of Marseille, France and Port of Vancouver, Canada has also joined the LNG bunkering focus group and the group will work towards two deliverables.  First, a guidance document for port to develop LNG bunkering and secondly, a joint roadmap for the Group with key milestones and initiatives. Stay tuned to the announcements in time to come. 

13 Collaboration among like-minded ports remain key. The group remains open to bring on-board other ports, for example, maybe a middle eastern port, that could serve as bunkering stop especially along the East-West trade routes and if that comes about , then I think we have completed the network that will allow vessels plying the East-West trade to have full access to LNG bunkering points. Nonetheless, I think we can also start some LNG trials for the trade route itself.


14 In terms of MPA’s partnership with MLIT under our MOC, I am pleased to share that MLIT and MPA will jointly conduct a feasibility study on LNG bunkering for car carriers plying between Japan and Singapore.  This is yet another milestone in our strong bilateral maritime relationship.  I am further happy to note that K Line, MOL and NYK will also be joining this study group. As we know, K Line, MOL and NYK, also commonly referred to as Japan’s big three carriers, had recently consolidated their container shipping business, with an operating company established in Singapore. There is much that we can do together, for example, working with them to grow their business here, develop new capabilities and I think working together on the feasibility study for ROROs is one good example of taking that relationship further.    


15 Before I end, I would like to pose a challenge to the participants here today. I believe this same challenge was also posed to Minister Ishii by Minister Khaw Boon Wan over lunch earlier – Can we see the first ocean-going vessel plying the East-West or Intra-Asia trade routes as early as 2020? With our network of ports, I believe LNG bunkering for ocean-going vessels will become a reality sooner rather than later and it would be good to see that the first of such vessel is Japanese vessel.

16 It is therefore important that we have platforms like the port seminar today to continue to allow for coordinated efforts among all the key stakeholders such as ports, the ship owners, LNG suppliers, engine manufacturers, and shipyards.

17 On this note, I would like to thank Your Excellency and the capable team from MLIT for responding enthusiastically to our call for partnership and I believe there is much we can learn from one another.

18 I wish everyone a fruitful seminar.  Thank you.