Singapore Maritime Week 2021: Pushing New Frontiers in Resilience, Digitalisation, Decarbonisation and Talent

12 April 2021

          The 15th Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2021 will be held from 19 to 23 April 2021. Organised by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), in collaboration with industry stakeholders and research and educational institutions, this week-long event will bring together industry experts and thought leaders in the maritime sector to discuss the changing face of the industry, and explore solutions that will enable the industry to thrive in the post-Covid-19 environment. 

2        Themed “New Frontiers, Shifting Paradigms”, the 15th SMW will provide a platform for maritime leaders to discuss new opportunities and key competencies for Singapore to achieve its vision of a global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation and talent. With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating transformation in the maritime industry, this year’s SMW will place the spotlight on how the industry is pushing new frontiers in a post-pandemic world, with closer collaboration to enable resilient operations, deeper adoption of digital solutions, a renewed focus on maritime decarbonisation, and increased emphasis on developing a future-ready maritime workforce.  

3        The 15th SMW programme will see 19 events take place through a mix of virtual and hybrid formats. Mr Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister for Transport, will open the Singapore Maritime Week on 19 April 2021. During the opening ceremony, he will launch the second phase of digitalPORT@SGTM which will progressively roll out a Just-In-Time (JIT) module for port stakeholders such as ship owners, agents, terminal operators and marine service providers. This will enhance the turnaround time of ships calling at the Port of Singapore, increase port efficiency and reduce business costs.

4        Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, MPA said, “The maritime industry is at a critical juncture, with resilience, digitalisation, decarbonisation and talent development at the forefront of change for sustainable growth. SMW 2021 is an opportune moment for the industry to come together to share knowledge and best practices in these areas to drive effective industry transformation.” 


5        The 15th Singapore Maritime Lecture will focus on the major challenges facing the industry and emerging opportunities for growth with the transformation of international trade. Mr Yee Yang Chien, President and CEO of MISC Berhad will deliver a keynote speech “Making the Future Possible”. This will be followed by a panel discussion on “How Can the Maritime Sector Transform through Digitalisation and Decarbonisation to Stay Ahead in the New Normal?” with Ms Vandita Pant, Chief Commercial Officer, BHP, Ms Pang Mei Yee, Head of Asia Pacific, Global Practice Lead for Supply Chain and Analytics Practice, DHL Consulting  and Mr Simon Kuik, President of the Association of Singapore Marine Industries and Head of Research and Development at Sembcorp Marine.

6        International shipping moves more than 80% of global trade, helping drive socio-economic development the world over. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a mandate that the global regulatory framework for international shipping accommodate the adoption of new technologies to improve safety, to protect the marine environment and facilitate trade, while providing the necessary impetus for decarbonisation. The inaugural IMO-Singapore Future of Shipping Conference on 23 April 2021 will see maritime stakeholders sharing views on a coordinated global approach and new opportunities for safer, cleaner and more efficient shipping. Mr Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister for Transport, and Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO, will open the conference with keynote speeches. Speakers include:  

• Mr Nicholas Ryan, Vice President, Operated Fleet, BP shipping

• Mr Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President, Head of Research & Development, Two-Stroke, MAN Energy Solutions

• Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chairman BW Group and Co-Chair of the International Advisory Panel on Maritime Decarbonisation;

• Mr Wong Weng Sun, President and CEO of Sembcorp Marine Ltd and Co-Chair of the International Advisory Panel on Maritime Decarbonisation. 

7        The Covid-19 pandemic posed significant disruptions to the maritime industry, with unfulfilled contractual obligations and other emerging issues threatening commercial relationships. Cognisant of the challenges and changes in marine dispute resolution during the pandemic, the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration will host an event titled “Arbitration’s Role In Dispute Resolution And The New Normal: Enhancing SCMA’s Relevance”. The panel discussion on 21 April 2021 will offer viewpoints on the future of arbitration and innovative solutions that have been developed for the post-pandemic landscape. Similarly, Marine Insurance Asia from 21 to 23 April will convene on issues of seafarer safety and crew wellbeing as a three-day virtual conference. Market-leading insurers, brokers and service providers will share viewpoints on the concerns facing shippers and insurers and discuss how ongoing sustainability efforts in the industry will impact marine insurance. 

8        The Moore Stephens – BNP Paribas: Singapore Shipping Forum returns to SMW on 22 April 2021, to provide perspectives on the macro-economic situation in the new decade, and how industry players can capture new opportunities in the shipping markets. Sustainability takes centre stage at this year’s forum, with decarbonisation and green financing at the top of the agenda at this annual seminar. Financing opportunities will also be covered at Capital Link’s 3rd Annual Singapore Maritime Forum on 20 April 2021, with industry leaders exploring environmental regulations, technology and fleet renewal.  

9        An anchor event at SMW since its inception, Sea Asia will return as a hybrid trade event from 21 to 22 April 2021. The Sea Asia Virtual Preview will be a precursor for the main show in September 2021 and provides a platform for exhibitors and sponsors to connect and engage with its target audiences. Attendees can look forward to exhibitors’ virtual showcase, complimentary webinars, business matchmaking, networking opportunities and seminar content specially curated by the conference team. 

10        Analysts and industry leaders from the dry bulk freight and freight forward agreement sectors will gather to discuss how the freight and commodities markets have fared over the past year, and how world economies might impact the demand for bulk commodities in the coming years at the Baltic Freight and Commodity Forum by the Baltic Exchange. Two forums will take place over 20 and 21 April 2021, focused on Dry Bulk and Tanker and Gas respectively, with panel discussions moderated by Mr Mark Jackson, CEO of Baltic Exchange. 


11        Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs, will officiate the opening of Singapore’s Maritime Drone Estate during SMW on 20 April 2021. With its close proximity to anchorages, the facility provides a conducive environment to test-bed and develop drone technology for maritime applications. Industry partners, research institutes and drone developers will be able to tap this regulatory sandbox to conduct sea trials for maritime drone operations and services. Several industry-led use cases will be showcased at the launch event. 

12        Themed “A New Era in Technology & Innovation”, this year’s Singapore Maritime Technology Conference runs from 19 to 22 April 2021 and adopts a hybrid format. This flagship event for SMW will take place over four days, and participants can experience both physical engagements onsite and online via a virtual platform. Industry leaders and senior executives from the maritime industry will come together with leaders in the tech, R&D and start-up ecosystem to share insights of their maritime transformation and innovation journeys, and explore digital and decarbonisation technologies and their commercial applications. A call-for-proposal for electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) solutions fulfilling the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) framework and other maritime innovation initiatives will be announced on the opening day of the conference. 

13        With the ongoing disruptions and challenges in the containerised cargo industry, TOC Asia will return to SMW as a virtual event with the theme of “Refocus and Recovery” at the top of the agenda. The event which takes place from 19 to 23 April 2021 will consist of several webinars with high-level industry stakeholders who will be discussing hot topics like market intelligence, automation, the green transition and how they will affect the container supply chain. 


14        In recognition of the individuals and companies that have contributed to Singapore’s development as a global hub port and leading international maritime centre, the Singapore International Maritime Awards 2021 will be held in conjunction with the SMW Opening Ceremony. The prestigious biennial awards ceremony, now in its 11th run, has introduced new categories in keeping with the push towards environmental sustainability. The “Sustainability Award” will honour a company that has contributed significantly to sustainability efforts in the maritime industry. The “SRS Green Ship of the Year Award” will be awarded to a quality, green Singapore-registered ship and “SRS Green Ship Owner Award” will recognise the ship owner with the largest proportion of ships participating in the Green Ship Programme, respectively. 

15        On 21 April 2021, the International Advisory Panel on Maritime Decarbonisation (IAP) will announce a set of recommendations for Maritime Singapore to support decarbonisation of the industry. The IAP was set up in July 2020 by the Singapore Maritime Foundation, with support from MPA.

16        Looking towards IMO’s target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 percent in 2050, SMW will serve as a platform for governments and the shipping industry to meet and discuss how to work together to reach these goals. Gard Charterers & Traders will be organising a virtual event titled “Taking Aim – Reaching Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets” on 20 April 2021. Mr Prashanth Athipar, Head of Ocean Freight at BHP Billiton, will join speakers from Gard’s Charterers & Traders and Loss Prevention teams to offer insights on how GHG emissions targets are being approached by regulators and the industry, and how this will impact ship vetting. 

17        International collaboration is critical to ensuring the development of zero-emission shipping. The Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore and the Danish Maritime Authority will host “Greening Tomorrow, Today: Partnerships For Zero Carbon Shipping” on 22 April 2021, a virtual event where maritime players will explore areas for increased international public-private collaboration towards emission-free shipping. Topics for discussion include developing the frameworks for innovation across the entire value chain to support the development of new energy systems and technologies for decarbonising shipping, and strategies to enable international collaboration across the maritime value chain. 

18        To further encourage knowledge-sharing, the Norwegian Business Association Singapore, in partnership with MPA, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Singapore and Innovation Norway, will host a special insights panel on decarbonisation in the maritime industry. The panel, titled “Towards zero emissions – sharing the Norwegian experience” on 21 April 2021 will explore how “Norwegian” fuel sources, like electrification, green ammonia and hydrogen, can contribute to overall decarbonisation efforts. 

19        The World Bank will be hosting a webinar titled “Charting A Course For Decarbonizing Maritime Transport For Policymakers And Industry” on 23 April 2021 to discuss how governments, the shipping industry, and the World Bank can work together to create an enabling environment for mobilising investments in zero-carbon shipping. This event will launch two technical reports  on the prospects of decarbonising maritime transport. Each report will be accompanied by an “Executive Briefing for Policymakers and Industry,” summarizing the key findings from a development perspective.

20        To promote more efficient shipping procedures and reduce carbon emissions, BIMCO is encouraging wider adoption of just-in-time arrival principles in the bulk sector. In a webinar titled “Successful Just-In-Time Arrivals” on 22 April 2021, an expert panel representing ports, shipowners, charterers and agents will explore the challenges that lie between the current “hurry up and wait” regime and Just-In-Time (JIT) arrivals regime, and discuss ways to overcome the obstacles to implementing JIT arrivals in the bulk and tanker sector. This is in line with the digitalPORT Phase 2 objectives for the JIT module. 


21        With the deepened focus on digitalisation and business transformation, there is a growing need to shape the workforce to adapt and thrive. Current and future generations will require new skillsets and perspectives to ensure greater productivity and overall job satisfaction. The Maritime Manpower Forum on 22 April 2021 co-organised by MPA and the Singapore Maritime Foundation will discuss these issues of talent attraction and retention, efforts to future-ready the workforce, and the relevance of job redesign given shifting jobs and skills needs. 

22        Further contributing to conversations on maritime leadership and organisation development, 20 maritime and port authority officials will convene at the 4th Advanced Maritime Leaders' Programme from 19 to 23 April 2021 to examine key techniques and skills that will enable workforce transformation, share best practices and challenges, and learn from their peers to enhance their leadership skills.  

23        With its myriad of knowledge exchange platforms, engaging dialogues and insightful conferences, SMW 2021 will shine a spotlight on critical areas for the continued vibrancy and diversity of Singapore as a global hub port and leading international maritime centre. 

<End of Release>