As a country with limited natural resources, imports ranging from food products to building materials are essential to our daily lives. Yet, many of us are unaware of how closely linked shipping is to our lives — a common but unhazardous affliction known as ‘sea-blindness’. In fact, 90% of world trade is conducted by sea, a figure that surprises many.
Yet another little known fact is that shipping is a more environmentally sustainable way of mass-freight transport than other alternatives such as air freight — producing less than 3% of the CO2e (a measure of relative global warming potential) than the latter. Recent years have seen the local shipping sector place greater emphasis on green initiatives, reaffirming their commitment to the cause. A $100 million Maritime Singapore Green Initiative established in 2011 has since helped to significantly reduce the environmental impact of maritime activities. The Green Ship Programme and Green Port Programme encourage Singapore-registered vessels and vessels that call at the nation’s ports to reduce the emissions of pollutants by offering incentives, while the Green Technology Programme encourages local maritime companies to develop and use cleaner technologies through providing grants.
Singapore is at the heart of Asian shipping, with its position as an international business and financial hub creating a favourable environment for businesses to flourish. Currently, more than 140 of the world’s top international shipping groups have established themselves in Singapore. This has in turn helped in drawing and raising the benchmark for various maritime services in Singapore, resulting in a diverse maritime ecosystem.