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Singapore at top spot as international shipping centre for seventh year

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A view of Tanjong Pagar Terminal and Brani Terminal on Jan 14, 2020. THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore at top spot as international shipping centre for seventh year

Singapore retained its position as the world’s most important shipping hub on the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) Index.

This is the seventh consecutive year Singapore is ranked first on the index, thanks to its advantages of geographical location, shipping industry ecosystem and supportive government policies, according to the Xinhua-Baltic Report 2020 which was released on July 11.

The ISCD Index is published by the Baltic Exchange in collaboration with Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency. The index provides an independent ranking of the performance of the world’s largest cities that offer port and shipping business services.

Baltic Exchange CEO Mark Jackson said that while the latest report reflects the pre-Covid-19 period, port cities that continue to build on their strengths will be able to communicate a clear vision for the future.

“We call on all the main shipping hubs to continue investing in education, R&D [research and development] and new services; remain open to global talent and offer an attractive international business environment,” he said.

The Baltic Exchange, which is headquartered in London, was acquired by Singapore Exchange in November 2016.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore CEO Quah Ley Hoon said: “This good news comes amidst the Covid-19 gloom. The real test will be how we bounce back in a world shaken by an unprecedented crisis.”

She said Singapore will continue to rally governments and the global shipping community to work together and emerge stronger from the crisis caused by the pandemic.

“Within Singapore, we stand united with our maritime companies, industry partners and unions, and will strive to maintain our position as a leading International Maritime Centre and a global hub port,” she said.

The report showed London climbing back to the second place on the ISCD Index thanks to advantages accruing from providing high-end shipping finance, insurance and legal services.

In 2018 and 2019, London occupied the third place on the index.

Shanghai, the biggest port in terms of container throughput, climbed to the third spot this year, helped by steady improvement in port facilities and shipping service levels.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong fell to fourth place mainly due to a decrease in cargo throughput and a drop in rankings relative to other centres in areas such as ship brokerage, insurance and legal services.

Dubai, the preeminent shipping hub in the Middle East, ranked fifth for the third consecutive year.

Rotterdam and Hamburg have also retained their positions since 2018, ranking sixth and seventh respectively. Benefiting from an improving business environment, Athens rose to the eighth slot.

New York-New Jersey slipped by one place to the ninth position, while Tokyo rose one spot, returning to the ranks of the top 10.

Xu Yu Chang, president of the China Economic Information Service, a wholly-owned company of Xinhua, said: “I believe the continued release of the Index will further contribute to sustainable global economic growth by optimising shipping resources worldwide as well as promoting the scientific development of international shipping centres.”

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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