World Maritime Day
Singapore was not a sleepy fishing village before the British arrived. While the early history of Singapore is obscured by myth and legend, archaeology points to an urbanised settlement here by the 14th century. Remains of old pottery, coins, jewellery, and other artefacts have been found, many of which are believed to be imports from various parts of China, India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia via aquatic trade routes. Over time, we evolved from this trading settlement to a British trading post in the mid-1800s, to an international maritime centre. The decision in 1969 to build our first container terminal in Tanjong Pagar propelled Singapore into the global league.
#OnThisDay (23 Sep), as we commemorate World Maritime Day, we think about the contributions of Singapore’s maritime industry to our economy. Today, our port is one of the busiest and most connected in the world, with links to more than 600 ports across 120 countries worldwide. Over 5,000 maritime establishments here employ more than 170,000 workers. The maritime industry adds about 7% to Singapore’s GDP.
When fully operational in the 2040s, our new Tuas Port is expected to be the world’s largest fully automated container port in a single location, with automated driverless electric vehicles, automated yard cranes, cameras, and laser sensors for crane specialists to remotely supervise multiple cranes. Our port’s Just In Time system will reduce vessel emissions in our waters and optimise ship sailing speeds to reduce fuel consumption.
Singapore’s historic role as a port-of-call may be the natural result of our geographical location. But our strength as a global port comes from our determined efforts to make the most of what we have, and our willingness to harness the winds of change.