WELCOME ADDRESS BY MR LUCIEN WONG, CHAIRMAN, MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE, AT THE OPENING OF ASIA PACIFIC MARITIME 2012, AT THE MARINA BAY SANDS EXPO & CONVENTION CENTRE, ON WEDNESDAY, 14 MARCH 2012, 10.00AM
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the opening of the 12th Asia Pacific Maritime, or APM in short, which has grown to become one of Asia's leading maritime events.
A Rising Asia amid an Uncertain Global Economy
The global economy, as we know, is not in a very good state. 2011 has been a challenging year for the maritime industry, with unfavourable demand-supply dynamics, high bunker prices, which seems to remain high these days, and constrained shipping rates. With the global growth slowdown expected to continue for the rest of the year, we foresee 2012 to be just as challenging.
Amidst this uncertainty, the outlook for Asia remains bright. As the fastest growing region in the world, strong domestic demand continues to keep Asian economies resilient and trade volumes in Asia healthy. With this, the maritime industry is optimistic about Asia's ability to ride out the storm and steer towards a positive forecast as Asia grows to become a centre of influence for shipping.
Singapore's Role and Vision as the World's Maritime Hub
With Asia's growing maritime influence, Singapore stands to benefit from this as well. Singapore's maritime industry has been an intrinsic part of the Republic's economy for decades and if I dare say so, from the beginning of our founding. Our strategic location at the crossroads of Asian-Europe seaborne trade, pro-enterprise business environment and strong partnership between the government, the maritime industry and maritime associations has created an ideal business landscape.
Today, Singapore is connected to more than 600 ports in over 120 countries and home to over 5,000 maritime establishments. Maritime Singapore continues to perform strongly with the Port of Singapore achieving new milestones in terms of container throughput, bunker sales and vessel arrival tonnage in 2011. These qualities have earned Singapore the recognition of being a premier global hub port and an international maritime centre.
As Singapore develops into an international maritime hub, trade shows such as APM are key platforms for partnerships and ties to be forged between the government, maritime associations and maritime companies. In addition to the many country pavilions and exhibitors, I am happy to note that APM this year also has a conference element to it. This year, there will be keynote sessions on environmental issues and the outlook for Asian shippers, which are highly relevant topics in these turbulent times. I am told that participation in APM has increased on all fronts this year and this is testament to the event's growth and strength over these years. I am also told that APM is the largest to date and I am pleased to note that it has grown year on year.
On this note, I am pleased to declare APM 2012 officially open and wish all the participants a fruitful conference and a rewarding experience at APM 2012.