Singapore tops maritime hub poll

A report by Menon Business Economics places Hamburg and Oslo high while London and New York suffer.

Oslo: Echoing a poll carried out by Splash parent firm Asia Shipping Media last year, Singapore has topped the list of the most important maritime capitals for 2015, according to a new report released by Menon Business Economics. The Asian capital was listed as number one based on a combination of objective indicators derived from public data sources as well as a survey of 200 industry experts from over 33 countries. The new Menon report benchmarks 15 maritime cities around the world in four maritime sectors: shipping, finance and law, technology, and ports and logistics.

It also takes into account competitiveness and attractiveness to maritime companies.

Singapore has gained a position in the global economy few would have predicted 40 years ago. As recently as 10 years ago, Singapore lacked world class maritime research and education, and the linkages between foreign and domestic companies were weak. Today, the city plays a key role in all aspects of the maritime industry.

Hamburg takes second place followed by Oslo. Oslo has its strengths within maritime finance and technology, but is beaten overall by Hamburg because of Hamburg’s importance as a European port city. Both cities, together with London and Rotterdam, are fighting to become the leading city in Europe for maritime activities. London is the world’s leading city for maritime finance and law, while Rotterdam’s strength lies in port and logistics services.

The increasing importance of China in the maritime industry is evident in the fact of Shanghai joining Hong Kong on the list of top five cities. China is the world’s largest trading nation, has one of the world’s largest shipbuilding industries and six of this world’s ten largest ports are located in the vast country. Hong Kong is challenged as a maritime hub by the strong growth rate of other Chinese cities.

Looking five years into the future, Menon’s experts predict that Singapore will keep its position as the global leader, while Shanghai is expected to increase its importance and become the second most important maritime city. The race to become the leading city in Europe is still open, between the big four. Dubai is predicted to take the step from being the leading maritime city in the Middle East to one of the leading maritime capitals of the world.

Other notable findings from the report include the clear pattern emerging of Asia as a whole gaining increasing control of the maritime market. The Philippines recently overtook European nations as the fourth largest shipbuilder and Manila and Jakarta continue to grow in importance for the maritime segment in the region.

In the Middle East, Dubai is predicted to move from being the 13th most important maritime city today to the seventh most important city in 2020. To achieve this, the city needs to increase its importance in other areas beside its stronghold with port and logistical services.

Commenting on Singapore’s top spot, Erik Jakobsen, partner and chairman at Menon Business Economics, said: “The last decades have seen Singapore emerging as the leading maritime capital of the world. Today Singapore’s position in the industry is unique and the city-state has developed sustainable advantages on several areas that have positioned the city for further growth. Still, Singapore will face challenges as it will experience tough competition from other growing cities in the Asia-Pacific”

As per the extreme competition to be the leading maritime city in Europe, Jacobsen said: “The race is open to become the leading maritime city in Europe. Oslo, Hamburg, Rotterdam, London are all positioned to take this role. ”

The full report can be download by clicking here.

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