05 October 2020

1.     Good evening from Singapore. I am glad for this opportunity for us to be gathered here at the first ever virtual OCEANS conference to reconnect and hear from one another.

2.     With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, we are also gathered here under very different circumstances. While economies start to re-open and trade demands are picking up, it is also clear that things will not go back to pre-COVID-19 days. We can expect an increase in local manufacturing, emphasis on food security and short sea routes for intra-regional trade.

The World today is rocked by COVID-19, but our Sustainability Agenda cannot be moved

3.     This conference is a timely reminder for us that as shipping focuses on the immediate challenges, we should not to let up on the existing efforts on sustainability. The pandemic also presents an opportunity for us to leave behind ‘business as usual’ and prepare for a ‘new normal’ that is more sustainable.

Maritime Singapore is and will continue to press on with our sustainabilty efforts

4.     Sustainability and decarbonisation remains a high priority on Maritime Singapore’s agenda. Even in the midst of the disruption caused by COVID-19, Singapore has pressed on in some of the following areas.

5.     The International Advisory Panel (IAP) on maritime decarbonisation, which had its inaugural meeting in July, has been set up to develop pathways to maritime decarbonisation, policies that could help accelerate the transition and proposed actions to be taken by Maritime Singapore. We are also on track to launch the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint 2050 next year.

6.     The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and its partners have launched a S$40 million Maritime GreenFuture Fund to encourage the research, test-bedding and adoption of low-carbon technologies to position Singapore for long term maritime sustainability. MPA is also working with partners on maritime technology scale-up initiatives to identify and develop promising maritime tech companies to get them ready when the economy picks up.

7.     We continue with our development of Tuas Port, which will consolidate all container terminal operations in a single location and significantly reduce inter terminal haulage operations and GHG emissions. Reclamation of Tuas Port is underway, and dredged and excavated materials derived from other construction works would be reused as part of the fill materials required.

Decarbonisation of the Shipping Industry– More can be achieved through Global Collaboration

8.     All these were made possible by the partnership among government agencies, industry and academia. Moving forward, we need to bring this collaboration to a global scale, to bring together disparate decarbonisation initiatives to facilitate and coordinate global efforts in addressing decarbonisation in shipping.

9.     And it is with this impetus that we have proposed for Singapore and the IMO to jointly develop a collaborative initiative to facilitate sharing of decarbonisation efforts, identify collaboration opportunities and gaps in global shipping ecosystem, and create a network to support the cooperation.


10.    We started the decade of 2020 with IMO2020 0.5% low sulphur regulation which required huge adjustment from the industry. Little did we know that we would be further hit more drastically by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is in such times that countries, governments and industry players need to come together collectively to overcome this global challenge so that we will come out more resilient, and sustainable than before.