Event Recap: SMF New Year Conversations 2022

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the maritime industry has responded well to the challenges and has remained resilient and relevant. With that in mind, the SMF New Year Conversations held on 13 January 2022 was appropriately themed “Opportunities Amid Disruptions: Maritime Singapore in the Post-pandemic World.” 

The event was graced by Mr. S. Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations as the Guest-of-Honour and attended by over 300 industry leaders who gathered in-person as well as online.

A highlight of the programme was a panel discussion moderated by SMF Chairman, Mr. Hor Weng Yew. The panel covered three broad themes, i.e. Global Trade and Supply Chains, Sustainability and Innovation, and Talent. 

The panel speakers comprised: 

Mr. Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express (ONE)

Ms. Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

Mr. Tan Chong Meng, CEO of PSA International

Mr. Lars Kastrup, Co-president & Executive Director of Pacific International Lines (PIL)

Mr. Loh Boon Chye, CEO of the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

The Panel discussing key issues in the past year 

Pushing Through Global Trade and Supply Chain Challenges

At the onset of Covid-19, there was a sharp decline in global trades followed by a strong recovery that was constrained by various supply chain bottlenecks. Geopolitics, new evolving covid variants and supply chain disruptions have altogether influenced maritime’s approach to trades and strategies. As a result, Singapore had to work very hard and played the role of a catch-up port to help alleviate bottlenecks, with its crucial connectivity as the gateway to Asia coming very much into the fore. 

In the immediate term, Mr. Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express (ONE), believed that Singapore had to focus on working through the pandemic. Meanwhile, Mr. Tan Chong Meng, CEO of PSA International, emphasised on the need to remain resilient and agile—a sentiment that was echoed by all panellists—as disruptions to supply chains may continue to occur.



Mr. Lars Kastrup, CoPresident & Executive Director of Pacific International Lines (PIL), added that liner companies have done particularly well, citing their renewed interest to integrate supply chains with adjacent logistic services, and having built strong IT solutions for supply chain management.

Mr Jeremy Nixon responding to a question posed by Mr Hor Weng Yew

Continuing the conversation, Ms. Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), believed that Singapore should not just be a catch-up port, but to also take this opportunity to push the transformation of Maritime Singapore. In pursuing innovation she urged the industry to avoid a polarity model, and to instead collaborate in driving changes.

Ms Quah Ley Hoon sharing about Singapore’s digital transition

Sustainability and Innovation – The Key to Decarbonisation

With the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s aim to reduce shipping’s carbon emissions by at least 50% come 2050, decarbonisation has become a top priority for maritime, and will continue to be a key issue in the years to come. The industry has accepted the vital need to accelerate decarbonisation across its key processes, having seen a greater number prepared to invest in and adopt greener logistics solutions. 

Elaborating on this theme, Ms. Quah shared that there are three important factors for decarbonisation to happen: having the necessary ships, setting up the proper infrastructure, and establishing the common standards.

Adding his perspective, Mr. Tan noted that digital enablement could be a game changer, allowing companies to operate more efficiently and effectively than in the past.  He added that the key was to make innovation more vibrant in companies by encouraging an innovative environment, focusing on the willingness to innovate instead of the risk of failure, and having more dialogue around innovation. For the industry to push towards its decarbonisation goals, more importance must be placed on enriching the workforce with sustainable and innovative mindsets.

Mr Tan Chong Meng speaking on the importance of innovation

Talent Development for the Future

Given Singapore’s relative size— attracting, retaining, and developing talent is particularly important for the continued growth and transformation of the maritime industry. Does Singapore have the talent capacity and competencies to continue being competitive in maritime? 

Mr Loh Boon Chye, CEO of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), highlighted that talent comes from training and developing the workforce, whether local or beyond Singapore’s shores. He noted that the industry should drawtalent from beyond the maritime pool to people with core skills that could be transferrable to the sector.

Mr Loh Boon Chye sharing his thoughts on talent in Singapore

Given how competencies and talent required on ships are evolving, Singapore has to develop the training and education services to meet maritime’s future needs. Mr Nixon shared that the challenge for Singapore would be having access to a larger pool of technically capable seafarers and crew. He also expressed a desire for Singapore to be the number one centre for seafarers in time to come.

What are your Top Three Priorities of 2022?

As the discussion drew to a close, the panellists were asked to name their top three priorities or concerns for the year 2022. Decarbonisation and digitalisation were cited as the leading areas of interest, with mentions of sustainability, talent development as well as, seafarer and crew welfare.

Mr Lars Kastrup revealing his top three priorities for 2022


Inaugural MSC Maritime Digital Challenge Grand Finals Prize Presentation

Over 129 tertiary students across 35 teams took part in the inaugural MSC Maritime Digital Challenge that seeks to plug Singapore students with a passion for technology into the maritime industry.
Students from the Singapore Management University and Nanyang Polytechnic were announced as winners of the challenges posed by Eastport Maritime, Kanda and Torvald Klaveness at the Prize Presentation held on 13 November 2021.

MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021

Three challenge statements, 35 teams, 129 students and 12 finalist teams from 4 universities & 3 polytechnics. Catch behind-the-scene highlights of the MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021.

Singapore Maritime Foundation | MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021

Catch highlights of the MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021. We thank Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport Mr. Chee Hong Tat for being our Guest-of-Honour at the event.

SMF New Year Conversations 2022: Year-in-Perspective Video

The past two years of learning to live with Covid-19 has been challenging, but Maritime Singapore has remained resilient. What are the fundamental tenets that attract companies to anchor their business in Singapore and grow their operations here? And what more can be done to leverage on Singapore’s strengths to enhance its attractiveness as a global business hub for maritime companies? How will the Singapore Maritime Foundation organize its work around Connectivity, Innovation and Talent to strengthen the maritime ecosystem? Find out in this Year-in-Perspective video.

SMF New Year Conversations 2022: Opportunities Amid Disruptions

The 2022 SMF New Year Conversations that took place on 13 January 2022 was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations. Over 250 industry leaders across the breadth of maritime attended physically and virtually.
Singapore was announced to have secured the overall top spot as an international maritime centre for the fifth consecutive time in the DNV-Menon Leading Maritime Cities 2022 report.
Thank you to our industry partners for your strong support.

Mr. Lars Kastrup


Mr. Lars Kastrup is the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd (PIL).

Prior to joining PIL, Mr. Kastrup was CEO of NOL/APL, and subsequently assumed the role of Executive Vice President, Strategy and M&A at CMA CGM Group. A veteran in the global shipping industry with over 30 years of experience, Mr Kastrup’s other roles include Executive Vice President of Assets at CMA CGM Group heading up CMA Terminals, CMA Ships, Container Logistics as well as regional carriers such as MacAndrews, OPDR and Mercosul; as well as Vice President at AP Moller-Maersk.
Mr. Kastrup complemented his tertiary education with leadership and management training at Penn State University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Angeline Teo


Ms. Angeline Teo is the Managing Director and Head of Global Transportation and Offshore, Global Corporate Banking at OCBC Bank which focuses on the maritime, aviation, land & port ecosystems.
Ms. Teo has spent over three decades in maritime finance. Prior to OCBC, Ms. Teo was working at ING Bank, ABN Amro and DnB in Singapore focusing on maritime and offshore.
Ms. Teo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Business Administration.

Mr. John Martin


Mr. John Martin began his career in London in 1989 with Richards Hogg Lindley Average Adjusters, and qualified as a Fellow of the UK Association of Average Adjusters in 2000.
At RHL he worked in their offices in Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2003 he joined Gard Hong Kong, as a claims handler. Mr. Martin also worked in Gard Japan, and in 2014 he moved to Singapore to set up the Gard Singapore office.
Besides running Gard Singapore, Mr. Martin also heads the P&I and H&M claims units and is the Senior Claims Representative for Gard in Asia.

Mr. Cyril Ducau


Mr. Cyril Ducau is the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte Ltd, a leading shipping company headquartered in Singapore for the past 30 years.

He is also currently the Chairman of Kenon Holdings Ltd and a member of the board of directors of Gard P&I (Bermuda) Ltd. and of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation Limited, which was established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. He was previously Head of Business Development of Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited in London from 2008 to 2012 and acted as Director and Chairman of Pacific Drilling SA between 2011 and 2018.
Prior to joining Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited, Mr. Ducau was Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co. International Ltd. in London between 2000 and 2008.
Mr. Ducau graduated from ESCP Europe Business School (Paris, Oxford, Berlin) and holds a Master of Science in business administration and a Diplom Kaufmann.