Amid structural and cyclical changes brought about by over-capacity, mega-alliances, increasing digitisation, as well as economic and geopolitical uncertainties, Singapore remains a premier global hub port and leading international maritime centre that held steady growth in 2016.
In the face of headwinds, Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2017 – organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) – will rally the global maritime industry for a week of discussions and networking to address critical issues impacting the regional and international maritime scene today. Into its 12th year, SMW will feature a record number of 34 events, including 20 business forums, eight networking receptions and six community outreach events. Themed “Navigating through Challenging Times”, the plethora of forums, exhibitions and public activities will reach close to 50,000 people and set the stage for the year ahead.
Over the week, key maritime thought leaders will discuss how the industry can tackle multi-faceted challenges. In addition to a keynote maritime lecture and other high-level forums, public showcases will give visitors a glimpse into Singapore’s offerings as a premier global hub port and leading international maritime centre.
Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “Given fundamental shifts in the economy and technological advances that are transforming the maritime industry at an unprecedented pace, the future is in the hands of those who can tap on the opportunities presented by rapid industry developments. SMW 2017 brings to the table in-depth insights that will allow participants to sharpen their understanding of the dynamic maritime landscape, and in turn equip them with the readiness and in-depth knowledge to navigate through these challenging times.”
Navigating through a challenging economic outlook
With the aim of providing guidance in the midst of global headwinds, conferences at SMW will address pressing macro-economic market concerns. Anchoring SMW 2017, the Singapore Maritime Lecture will return for its 11th edition, with Dr Detlef Trefzger, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of logistics giant Kuehne + Nagel International AG delivering a keynote address titled “Driving forces of the logistics industry (Mega-trends / Consumers / Technology / Collaboration)”.
Another flagship event, the biennial Sea Asia Exhibition & Conference will address the latest topics, trends, opportunities and challenges facing maritime and offshore businesses. Delegates of the three-day conference and exhibition will hear from industry veterans such as Andy Tung, CEO of Orient Overseas Container Line, Randy Chen, Vice Chairman of Wan Hai Lines, and Paddy Rodgers, CEO of Euronav.
Held in conjunction with SMW for the first time, Singapore Iron Ore Week 2017 will bring together industry players from both the demand and supply sides. With an impressive line-up of speakers including representatives from BHP Billiton, Tata Steel, Rio Tinto, Citibank and SGX, participants can expect to gain insights on the challenging issues facing the industry.
Another platform covering issues facing the shipping industry, the Moore Stephens Singapore Shipping Forum 2017 will place a spotlight on the changing geopolitical scene, impact of the steep fall in oil prices, how ship owners are adapting to a new regulatory environment, as well as the view of investors and financiers on the industry’s future.
Separately, owing to over-capacity and falling freight rates, the worldwide maritime industry now faces greater risk, leading to keen interest in marine insurance. SMW 2017’s schedule of insurance-related conferences will address this concern – the first Singapore Marine Insurance Conference will focus on the latest developments and emerging topics from across the insurance and maritime industries; while expert underwriters at the inaugural Lloyd’s Asia Marine Open Day will discuss critical risks faced by the industry and how businesses can hedge themselves to mitigate further losses. Additionally, the third edition of Gard’s Seminar for Charterers and Traders will focus on counterparty risk, insolvency and hedging, with a practical focus on relevant legal and regulatory frameworks.
In yet another first, Norway-based consultancy, Menon Economics, will launch the 2017 edition of “The Leading Maritime Capitals of the World” report, an international benchmarking study that ranks the 15 leading maritime capitals of the world within five areas: Shipping Centres, Maritime Finance and Law, Ports and Logistics Services, Maritime Technology and Attractiveness and Competitiveness.
Impact of new technologies and future transformation of the maritime industry
With increasing digitisation and technological advancements, shippers now have to adopt new business models. In keeping with industry demands for new technologies, the Singapore Maritime Technology Conference & Exhibition (SMTC) will profile prominent maritime and port industry trends and technological developments – with a focus on the digital potential in marine, innovation in smart ships and ports, green shipping and cybersecurity. Pierre Sames, Group Technology and Research Director of DNV GL will present a keynote session with other industry luminaries such as Aleksander Stensby, Chief Digital Officer of Torvald Klaveness who will also be speaking at the conference.
With oil spills being a key concern of the maritime industry, the 10th International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference and Exhibition (ICOPCE) will deep-dive into preparedness and response strategies for oil and chemical spills, taking into account new innovations, as well as learnings from recent incidents. Headlining ICOPCE 2017 are keynote speakers Jonathan Evans, Managing Director (MD) of International Marine Transportation Singapore, Refining & Supply, ExxonMobil and Brian Sullivan, Executive Director, IPIECA.
At TOC Asia 2017, stakeholders across the container supply chain will network and deliberate about port-related processes and technologies that go into creating a global supply chain of the future.
The Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) Seminar 2017 will also expound on technology-related topics, such as research and development opportunities in augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
In light of growing international regulatory requirements and stricter standards for emissions, shippers are now increasingly concerned about green shipping and sustainability. The issue of sustainability will be covered at the CIL International Conference on High Seas Governance, where industry experts will examine the relationship between the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other existing international instruments and mechanisms that protect the sensitive marine environment. Sessions will also explore trends in environmental policy and governance.
In preparing the industry for the impending Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention that will come into from September this year, the 8th International Conference on Ballast Water Management Convention will discuss the revised G8 approval guidelines, port state control and timeline for installation of BWM systems, as well as the latest developments at IMO and the US Coast Guard.
Building a future-ready global workforce
Going beyond knowledge-sharing and exhibitions, the Singapore International Maritime Awards will celebrate outstanding contributions by individuals and companies that have supported Singapore’s development as a future-ready, premier global hub port and leading international maritime centre.
Additionally, the 4th Graduation Ceremony for Certificate of Competency (CoC) (Special Limit) Officers and Tugmasters will celebrate the achievements and endeavours of cadets who have chosen sailing as their careers.
Various outreach activities will also generate awareness and interest in the maritime sector, with hopes of building a future-ready workforce. For the first time ever, SMW will present Sea Dreams, a musical tale that puts a refreshing touch to SMW’s public outreach initiatives. Developed in collaboration with Global Cultural Alliance, the visual and musical adventure centres on the aspirations of a young girl pursuing a career in the maritime industry. The two-night performance at the VivoCity Amphitheatre will meld storytelling with elements of circus arts and the explosive rhythms of the sea.
The educational SMW Exhibition will return from 22 to 28 April 2017, with an interactive showcase of everything maritime – from different vocations in the industry, to new and emerging technologies. Titled “We are Maritime Singapore”, it comprises four zones, where visitors can participate in engaging and immersive learning experiences suitable for both the young and old.
The Amazing Maritime Challenge will also allow the general public to develop a greater awareness of the industry albeit in a fun way, with over 800 participants pitting themselves against one another in a series of maritime-related games and challenges.
With its myriad of conferences for industry professionals and public outreach initiatives, SMW 2017 aims to be a global platform for driving thought leadership and sharpening industry competitiveness, while engaging the community to foster greater awareness of Singapore as a thriving and vibrant maritime nation.