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Singapore PM: ‘We cannot rest on our laurels’

In another life Lee Hsien Loong might have been steering a ship, rather than the republic of Singapore.

Singapore’s prime minister, the son of the founder of the nation, took to Facebook yesterday to exhort locals in maritime to push harder to ensure the city-state maintains its shipping primacy amid renewed local competition.

Providing a link to a YouTube video of a spectacular containership voyage time lapse video that has been seen by more than 3.5m people since it was posted last month, Lee wrote: “I sometimes dream of sailing aboard a container ship from port to port, so this video is the next best thing.”

Lee went to urge citizens to continue to build on Singapore’s international maritime centre foundations.

“Our port and strategic location are a big part of Singapore’s success. But with ports in the region competing for business, and new trade routes opening up, we cannot rest on our laurels,” he wrote, adding: “The Tuas mega port will strengthen our international maritime hub. We must do all we can to keep the path ahead smooth sailing!”

Singapore is relocating its port from downtown to Tuas in the west of the country. The massive project will be opened progressively from 2021. When fully completed by 2040, it will be able to handle up to 65m teu a year.

Neighbouring Malaysis has also earmarked a string of sizeable new port projects, while Indonesia is also spending big on port infrastructure.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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