The Port of Singapore put in a mixed performance in 2015, amidst weak global economic conditions and structural changes in the maritime industry. Advance estimates show that vessel arrival tonnage grew 5.6 per cent, while Singapore remained the world's top bunkering port with a 6.5 per cent increase in volume of bunkers sold. Container throughput and cargo throughput, however, contracted by 8.7 and 1.1 per cent respectively. This was largely caused by the overall slump in Asia-Europe volumes, compounded by developments such as the rebalancing of volumes across alliances agreements, and an increase in direct sailings due to lower bunker prices.
To help the container lines cope with the challenging economic environment, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and PSA Corporation Limited (PSA) have proactively worked on a suite of help measures.
From 15 January 2016, MPA will be granting an additional 10 per cent concession on port dues for container vessels calling at the Port of Singapore, if they are carrying out cargo works with a port stay of not more than five days. The additional concession will be in place for one year, and will be granted on top of existing port dues concessions such as the Green Port Programme incentives and the 20 per cent concession first introduced in 1996. In all, these concessions are expected to amount to more than S$17 million in annual savings for container lines.
PSA will also put in more resources to help their customers through this period. PSA is working with their customers to enhance vessel productivity at the port and optimise network planning activities such as service deployments and phasing in and out of vessels, with the aim of lowering their operational costs. PSA is also actively engaging container lines which wish to establish a long-term strategic presence in the Port of Singapore.
The measures were announced by Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, at the Singapore Maritime Foundation New Year cocktail reception today. In his address, Mr Khaw added that "the measures are another reflection of the Singapore Government's consistent commitment to stand with and help our partners through challenging times".