25 September 2017

Dr Stefan Micallef, Director, Marine Environment Protection Division, IMO 

Distinguished Speakers, Participants of the Future Ready Shipping 2017 Conference, 

Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome to the second Future Ready Shipping Conference. I am pleased to see so many participants from all the different sectors of the maritime community here with us today, including many familiar faces. 

2 Before we start, to my Caribbean friends, I would like to offer my condolences to the families of the victims affected by the hurricanes that have besieged your countries over the last few weeks. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult period.

Towards a More Sustainable Maritime Transport System

3 Ocean freight is the most energy efficient mode of transporting cargo around the world.  For many countries, shipping is the only means of access to goods and commodities essential for communities to survive and for economies to thrive.  But demands from many quarters are growing to further reduce the impact of shipping on the environment.  Some of these give rise to concerns that global trade would be restricted.  Therein lies the challenge that discussions these two days will ultimately address: how do we ensure a sustainable maritime transport system?

4 As a responsible member of the global community, the shipping industry has acknowledged and embraced its role in reducing global CO2 emissions.  We should not forget that in 2011, IMO became the first international organisation to adopt mandatory energy-efficiency measures for the global shipping industry, viz the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships.  It remains the only organisation to do so.  More recently, the shipping industry has called for IMO to develop a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that match the spirit and ambition of the Paris Agreement.  We as governments should work together at IMO to facilitate and fulfil the industry’s desire to contribute to this global cause.

5 In this vein, Singapore remains committed in working closely with our fellow IMO member States to work towards a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.  We believe that any successful strategy must not only be ambitious but also achievable and implementable, taking into account the state of technology, the availability of and accessibility to alternative fuel sources, and sensible timeframes that allow for a smooth transition to a lower carbon footprint.

Leveraging Technology for Sustainable Shipping

6 The next generation technologies offer many opportunities for shipping to contribute to emission reductions.  There is broad recognition that, apart from needed investments in the research and development of new energy efficient technologies, barriers to the widespread uptake of such technologies must also be addressed.  There are countries in varying stages of development, with different capacity and capability levels.  Therefore, new or emerging technologies, especially those that enhance energy efficiency, may not be easily available or readily implementable by all.  This is where the Future Ready Shipping Conference (FRS) comes in. 

A Platform for Global Partnership: Future Ready Shipping 2017
7 The FRS Conference was convened in 2015 as a step in fostering a culture of international collaboration, in the development, deployment, and exchange of environmentally-sustainable technologies. As an international maritime hub, Singapore was the ideal location to host the Conference, which brought together stakeholders from every corner of the maritime community to exchange views and best practices. 

8 We are happy to note that since the first Conference, the IMO has developed a global partnership and networking mechanism to accelerate maritime technology cooperation.  I refer to the launch of the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) and the establishment of five Maritime Technologies Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) in five different regions – a realisation of an idea mooted in the inaugural FRS Conference.  We are honoured today to have the GIA Chair and representatives from these MTCCs with us today, to speak at this Conference.  We will also shortly witness a signing ceremony for new members of the GIA. Let us offer a word of congratulations to all involved.

9 Today’s Conference’s theme is “Enabling Maritime Technology Collaboration: Bridging Gaps; Strengthening Partnership”. In line with the theme, the focus of this year’s Conference is on i) identifying the gaps and priority areas, ii) examining further international actions required to enhance maritime technology cooperation and capacity building, and most importantly, iii) highlighting and strengthening the possible partnerships between the different stakeholders on maritime technology cooperation. 

10 I am happy to share that this second Conference will see more speakers from a wider spectrum of the maritime industry and this is a good development showing that many of the things that have been discussed over the last few years have been gathering momentum.   I encourage all of you to participate vigorously and candidly in the panel discussions in the Conference.  Speakers and panellists will touch upon future regulatory developments and how new and existing technologies can help to facilitate international shipping’s move to a more energy-efficient and low-carbon future.  Case studies on methods and best practices, including public private sector partnerships, to incentivise technology collaboration will be discussed.  Ship owners, port authorities and terminal operators will also share their experiences in the adoption of energy efficient technologies.  There will also be updates on the capacity building efforts delivered by the GloMEEP and MTCC initiatives.

11 These will provide the gist for a rounding-up session tomorrow afternoon, for participants to brainstorm on the way forward. I hope that similar to the first conference, this conference will also toss up some additional practical ideas that may be brought forward in the third edition of the conference as well as the MTCC and this is where we can bring both top-down and ground-up efforts together, and this is where you will find that there will be a variety of measures, a variety of incentives which is exactly what is needed as IMO compile many of these measures and I think the best outcome is both a top-down and bottom-up approach and that’s where you will see greater ownership of our common future. 

Partnerships and Collaboration are Key 

12 MPA firmly believes that close partnerships with all stakeholders is the way to go to promote safer, more efficient and sustainable shipping.  You can be assured that this will remain our basic approach as we work together with the IMO to further its mandate and objectives. 

13 As a small country sitting at the cross roads of trade, finance and knowledge flows, we believe we can offer ourselves as a unique platform for the exchange of best practices as well as forging of new partnerships that can help point the way forward on the pressing challenges facing the maritime industry today. 

14 Let me conclude. I thank the IMO for co-organising this Conference with MPA as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for co-sponsoring some of the participants of the Conference under the Singapore Cooperation Programme.  I hope that FRS 2017 Conference will continue to serve as a useful platform for all stakeholders to freely and frankly share their views and ideas in the area of maritime technology collaboration, cooperation and transfers. I wish everyone a fruitful time in Singapore, and good discussions ahead. 

Thank you.