Ready and Equipped for Stormy Waters

Singapore’s maritime sector has grown considerably from its humble beginnings as a regional ship repair and building centre. Today, it is a major offshore and marine centre with a thriving ecosystem of marine support industries. Here, we look at the Republic’s marine equipment sector and how it has grown to complement this international maritime hub.  


Leading Offshore and Marine Industry Supported by an Ecosystem of Marine Equipment and Services  

Building on its early strengths as a regional ship repair and building centre, Singapore has grown into a leader in the offshore and marine sector. Today, the Republic leads the way as a ship repair and conversion centre, on top on being the market leader for the building of jack-up rigs and conversion of FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) units. 
 
This success would not have been possible without the powerful community of marine supporting industries that has risen to complement it. The Republic boasts of one of the highest concentrations of maritime companies in the world, with a range of specialists in instrumentation, electronic equipment repairs, turbocharger reconditioning, refrigeration and air-conditioning maintenance as well as engine manufacturers, propeller makers and navigational equipment suppliers. This also complements the in-house design and production capabilities of local and international shipyards and offshore and marine firms.
 

Full Spectrum of Marine Support Partners Add to Singapore’s Competitive Advantage as a Leading Maritime Hub  

Companies in the marine support sector also span the spectrum from small and medium scale workshops to comprehensive factory facilities. All in all, these companies provide the full spectrum of marine equipment and services required for the fulfilment of work from shipyards and ship owners all around the world. In addition, the ability to offer these services in one convenient location has endeared Singapore to industry players requiring speed and reliability for their projects.
 
One other aspect to point out is that the local marine equipment sector also benefits from the Republic’s strengths as an advanced manufacturing hub. With its strong base in precision engineering – a core enabler for the manufacture of complex equipment – Singapore has risen to become the leading location in the region for the production of oil and gas equipment.
 

Singapore – An Ideal Destination for Maritime Firms Looking to Tap into Asia Pacific Growth Opportunities 

While the outlook for the offshore and marine sector is currently cloudy due to the global economic slowdown and record-low oil prices, the long term prognosis for Singapore is much more sanguine. For one, Singapore is located at the heart of the Asia Pacific region, which is widely seen as the main driver for global economic growth for many years to come. The rapid urbanisation and growing middle class in many developing countries in the region will spur demand for goods and services and energy exploration. 
 
It is with the view towards being closer to their potential markets that has prompted many global offshore and marine companies to establish and scale up their operations in Singapore. One of those on this list is global power systems giant Rolls Royce. In 2011, the company elected to shift the global headquarters for its marine business to Singapore in a bid to capitalise on the Asia Pacific growth story.
 
Other leading marine equipment makers have also followed suit to ride on commercial shipbuilding demand in the region, establishing their manufacturing plants in Singapore to be closer to markets.
Singapore Leveraging on Maritime Technologies Research & Development to Bolster Future Competitive Advantage 
 
Despite its strong position in the maritime sector, Singapore is not content to rest on its laurels. Instead, the Republic has been looking to technology to further reinforce its competitive position in the offshore and marine sector. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has partnered with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), working on research and development projects for maritime technologies.
 
The five-year partnership is an exciting development which allows the MPA to tap on the full capabilities of all research institutes under A*STAR's Science and Engineering Research Council. The scope of research includes the development of new maritime communications technologies (satellite, terrestrial, and wireless modes of communication), robotic capabilities supporting the marine industry, and environment technology (consisting of applied research into marine sustainability, renewable energy, and the use of emission reduction technology in ports in terms of infrastructure, processes, equipment and vessels). 
 

Making Sail, Powering Forward 

Looking to the future, Singapore will continue evolving to ensure its offshore and marine industry remains a global leader, and its marine support sector remains relevant to the changing times. Despite the current challenging conditions, there is still much to look forward for the industry in the years to come.  
 
 
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