Sea Asia 2021: Fireside Chat with Minister Iswaran

The biennial Sea Asia event is back for its 8th edition, virtually this time from 21 to 23 September 2021. As Asia’s leading maritime marketplace, Sea Asia 2021 serves as the prime platform for discussion on key issues at the intersection of decarbonisation, technology, innovation, and talent.
Kicking off the three-day event, Singapore Maritime Foundation’s Chairman, Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao, conducted a fireside chat with Singapore’s Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Mr S Iswaran. They spoke on how the Covid-19 pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on global trade and economic sectors such as maritime, as well as and the vital role that talent plays as the bedrock of the industry’s growth.
“When you think about the longer term, one major issue is also how technology is going to change the way businesses are conducted.” – Mr Iswaran on how COVID-19 has driven industry transformation.
Broadly, Singapore’s annual economic growth for 2021 is forecasted at 6% by the International Monetary Fund. Yet, Covid-19 has introduced a mixed bag of transitory and lasting effects, triggering systemic change—the expedition of industry digitalisation being one of them, as observed by Minister Iswaran.
With maritime embracing digitalisation, physical capabilities must also be strengthened alongside technological infrastructure to ensure the smooth and efficient passage of physical goods. digitalOCEANS (Open/Common Exchange And Network Standardisation), an informational platform that facilitates cross-border data exchange created by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), is one such example.
Apart from improving system efficiency, digitalisation has a spillover effect on achieving Maritime Singapore’s decarbonisation goals.
“Sustainability is already an important consideration, and it is only going to be more so in the future. Whether you are in the shipping line or port operator, we need to consider the issue of sustainability. It is not just about cost but also about compatibility.” – Mr Iswaran on sustainability being a shared responsibility.
Taking a leaf out of aviation’s book, Minister Iswaran cites how shortening aircraft dwelling and navigation time drastically reduces fuel usage. Similarly, digitalPORT by MPA addresses the issue of the idle ship waiting time by providing timely information. As the industry moves towards sustainable fuel alternatives, systemic efforts and industry support are required to drive the fulfilment of long-term sustainability goals, especially for what he identifies as an “urgent task.”
Considering its global impact, sustainability requires the concerted efforts of regulatory bodies, businesses, and individuals.
Public-Private Cooperation
“It [Sustainability] is a global common challenge and we require a global common solution that can be applied across the board.”- Mr Iswaran on harmonising global standards to reduce carbon footprint.
While maritime organisations navigate the relatively uncharted waters of decarbonisation, both domestic and global regulatory bodies need to implement clear standards on issues such as carbon pricing. The maritime ecosystem comprises businesses, unions, regulatory bodies, and individual stakeholders, experiencing diverse perspectives.
He stressed the importance of governmental bodies engaging in conversation with industries to obtain a wider operational perspective and bring forth creative solutions—an area that the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, which was set up in response to the International Advisory Panel on Maritime Decarbonisation (IAP) Report, addresses
Developing and Retaining Talent
“It is important that businessmen and business leaders understand that this is also a shared responsibility. When businesses embrace technology, we want employees to know that they will also be looked after.”- Mr Iswaran on why public-private cooperation is required for skills upgrading.
As Maritime evolves digitally, building a future-ready workforce has never been more pertinent. To complement governmental skills upgrading efforts such as SkillsFuture, organisations are encouraged continue building the capabilities of existing talent while attracting new members into the pool.
Besides retention, grooming new talent was another key focus of this conversation. Harkening back to Singapore history as a trading port, he affirmed the nation’s commitment to developing both software and hardware to retain its position as a leading International Maritime Centre. This presents countless opportunities, especially with digitalisation and sustainability, and the Minister beckoned youths to explore maritime as a career.
After all, “this is an industry with a very compelling value proposition”, says Minister Iswaran, where one can forge a lasting career.
Inspired to make Maritime your port of call? Visit the MSC Career Portal.


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.