Singapore Maritime Week Kicks Off with Urgent Call to Achieve Industry Goals

Credit: Tom Fisk/Pexels
  1.   The 17th Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2023 returns as one of the largest editions ever, with close to 50 events taking place from 24 to 28 April 2023.  Members of the public can also get a glimpse of the maritime sector through learning journeys organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). Organised by MPA in collaboration with industry stakeholders and the research community, the week-long event will gather some 20,000 maritime professionals, including delegates from governments, port authorities and international organisations, as well as industry experts, thought leaders, students from various disciplines and members of the public. 
  2.   Themed ‘Ambition Meets Action’, SMW 2023 brings together the global maritime community to take collective and accelerated action to digitalise and decarbonise.   
  3.   SMW 2023 was officially launched by Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations. Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Mr Iswaran emphasised three areas of ambition for continued growth and success in the maritime industry: ensuring steady progress for maritime decarbonisation, aligning international standards in the move towards greater digitalisation, and redoubling efforts to attract and nurture talent. He said, “The journey ahead for the maritime sector is not without its uncertainties and challenges, but it also holds the promise of new and interesting opportunities. Our collective mission must be to work together, navigate our path through choppy waters, and stay the course.”
  4.   IMO Secretary-General Mr Kitack LIM delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony of SMW 2023. Mr Lim highlighted that IMO Member States are currently actively engaged in upgrading IMO’s Strategy for the reduction of GHG emissions from international shipping by July this year. He added that collaboration, information-sharing, and capacity-building were key to ensuring that no one is left behind in the push for decarbonisation. Mr Lim also stressed that the IMO Member States must be ambitious and bold enough to elevate the vision and levels of ambition to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping.
  5.   During the opening segment, Mr CHEE Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport, and Ministers from Denmark, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom, also participated in a SMW Maritime Dialogue. Moderated by Ambassador ONG Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, the Maritime Dialogue discussed pertinent maritime issues such as talent, digitalisation, decarbonisation in a time of disruption, as well as partnerships between government and industry.
  6.   As part of Singapore’s commitment to environmental sustainability, SMW 2023 will be organised with several environmentally friendly considerations in mind. These include minimising the use of single-use materials and publishing marketing collaterals in digital format.

Collective action and international partnerships to achieve ambitions

  1.   To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the IMO Convention and the 25th anniversary of the IMO-Singapore Memorandum of Understanding on the Third Country Training Programme, Mr Iswaran announced that Singapore will pledge a new enhanced technical cooperation and training package1 of USD 5 million for the 2024 to 2028 period comprising fellowships, scholarships, workshops, and courses for IMO and its Member States, with the initial USD 2 million committed for 2024 and 2025. The enhanced technical cooperation and training package reaffirms Singapore’s commitment to supporting the development of the international maritime community through maritime leadership training and capacity building.   
  2.   Mr Iswaran also congratulated Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, the winner of the Singapore-IMO NextGEN Connect2 Call for Proposals, on their proposal titled ‘Development of a Route-Based Action Plan Methodology based upon the Silk Alliance3. He added that Singapore and the IMO were looking forward to working with them, as well as other stakeholders in the Silk Alliance on the implementation of their plans. Further details of this winning project will be shared at the Accelerating Decarbonisation conference on 27 April 2023. 
  3.   Underscoring the importance of partnerships and Singapore’s commitment to decarbonise and digitalise the maritime industry, MPA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today with the Port of Los Angeles (POLA), and Port of Long Beach (POLB), with the support of C40 Cities, to establish a green and digital shipping corridor (GDSC) between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay port complex. The GDSC aims to enable ships plying between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay port complex to achieve carbon-neutral emissions. In addition to identifying and collaborating on pilot and demonstration projects, the MoU aims to identify and implement digital shipping solutions along the route and develop standards and best practices for green ports and the bunkering of alternative marine fuels.  
  4.   The MoU was signed by Mr TEO Eng Dih, Chief Executive of MPA, Mr Gene SEROKA, Executive Director of POLA, and Mr Mario CORDERO, Executive Director of POLB, at the Opening Ceremony, and witnessed by Mr S Iswaran, Mr CHEE Hong Tat, Mr Jonathan KAPLAN, Ambassador of the United States to Singapore, Mr NIAM Chiang Meng, Chairman of MPA, Ms Sharon WEISSMAN, Long Beach Harbor Commission President, and Mr Edward RENWICK, Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner. Please refer to Annex A for a joint media release on details of the MoU. 
  5.   Mr Kitack LIM is in Singapore this week to attend several events at SMW 2023. At the fireside chat of the 5th Advanced Maritime Leaders’ Programme (AMLP)4 held this morning in conjunction with SMW 2023, Mr Lim shared with 24 senior maritime officials from 17 countries and the IMO, the seminal work currently ongoing at IMO to upgrade IMO’s decarbonisation strategy as well as IMO’s initiatives and efforts to advocate for greater climate action through technical cooperation and capacity building to ensure that no one is left behind in the energy transition. 
  6.   In conjunction with SMW 2023, MPA is also jointly organising a workshop on e-Navigation (ENAV) and vessel traffic service (VTS) with the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) from 25 to 27 April. The workshop, which is designed for maritime and port administrators who oversee VTS and/or ENAV in their countries, is supported by the MPA-IALA MoU on Sponsorship to the World-Wide Academy5. The workshop offers delegates insights into the international framework and developments on ENAV and VTS, as well as discusses the management of risks and human factors in VTS.
  7.   The SMW Opening Ceremony was followed by the SMW Leaders’ Perspectives panel discussion titled ‘The Maritime Green Transition in the Current Global Economy’, where industry leaders and experts discussed current realities on the state of the green transition, actions needed to make progress on the decarbonisation ambitions, identify green finance and growth opportunities, and how the industry can rally together to achieve net-zero emissions. The panellists comprised Mr Hing CHAO, Executive Chairman of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings, Mr Laurent OLMETA, APAC Chief Executive Officer of CMA CGM (Singapore), Mr Abhishek PANDEY, Global Head of Shipping Finance, Standard Chartered Bank, and Mr Christopher WIERNICKI, Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer, American Bureau of Shipping. The panel discussion was moderated by Ms Caroline YANG, President of the Singapore Shipping Association & Vice Chair of the International Chamber of Shipping.  
  8.   In conjunction with SMW 2023, and the 4th Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperative Council (SSCCC) meeting co-chaired by Mr Edwin TONG, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, and Mr GONG Zheng, Mayor of Shanghai, Shanghai Maritime University (SMU) and MPA signed an extension to the MoU6 to deepen Singapore’s talent and knowledge exchanges with China’s maritime eco-system through SMU. Represented at the signing were Mr LI Zhipeng, Vice President, SMU and Mr TAN Hoe Soon, MPA Assistant Chief Executive (Corporate & Strategy).  

Thought leadership conversations on decarbonisation, innovation, talent, and services at SMW 2023 and public outreach efforts

  1.   The line-up of conferences, meetings and dialogues at SMW 2023 is organised around four pillars, namely decarbonisation, innovation, talent, and services. Please refer to Annex B for the media factsheet on event details at SMW 2023, and Annex C for the Infographics on MPA’s Maritime Census 2022.  
  2.   Apart from business events at SMW 2023, MPA will also reach out to schools and the public over the week through maritime trails, sea tours, and vessel visits, to raise public awareness of the dynamic maritime industry, and allow them to better appreciate Singapore’s role as a global maritime hub port and international maritime centre. Members of the public may book the tours via
  • Annex A: Joint media release on MoU between MPA, POLA, POLB
  • Annex B: SMW 2023 Media Factsheet
  • Annex C: Infographics on MPA’s Maritime Census 2022


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Source: MPA