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Asian shipping expected to ride out stormy downturn

Monday, 06 February 2012 | 00:00
Key leaders of Singapore's maritime industry recently said that the ongoing downturn may lead to more consolidation among shipping companies, but Asia is likely to emerge as the new shipping hub of the world.
Mr Michael Chia chairman of the Singapore Maritime Foundation said that "Shipping remains the key facilitator of world trade... Asia is fast emerging as the new centre of shipping. Cyclical as it is, many investors and maritime companies believe strongly in the long term prospects of the industry."
Mr Lui Tuck Yew transport minister of Singapore said that "I believe that those who remain will emerge stronger, and be better able to seize the opportunities afforded by Asia's continuing growth story. Even in this turbulent market, Singapore shipping companies can expect continued government support. I want to assure you that the Singapore government is committed to helping the maritime sector grow, because of its tremendous importance to Singapore’s economy."
The shipping industry has fallen on hard times as economic demand has slowed to the point where there are too many ships for the cargo available, and energy costs remain too high.
However, not everything is doom and gloom, with the offshore and marine industry's bright spot being the shipyards and offshore engineering firms. Due to the lingering high oil prices, they have a bumper crop of contracts for two years, with 2012 likely to see a record number of rig deliveries.
Mr Chia, who was reappointed as SMF chairman for a second term recently, said that the challenge for offshore engineering firms would be to increase productivity and invest in more innovation to maintain their edge.
Source: Exim News
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