New initiatives to strengthen Singapore as a global maritime hub

“The close partnership between the Government, the industry and Singapore Shipping Association is a unique competitive advantage for Singapore."

Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health, announced two initiatives for the maritime industry at the Singapore Shipping Association’s (SSA) Annual Lunar New Year Cocktail Reception recently.
The two initiatives, the Singapore War Risks Insurance Conditions (SWRIC) and the development of an inter-operability framework for electronic trade documents for the maritime and trade industries, will strengthen Singapore’s standing as a leading global maritime hub.

Enhancing Singapore’s maritime insurance offerings

The SWRIC is an enhancement to the Singapore War Risks Mutual (SWRM), Singapore’s first national war risks insurance facility which was launched in 2015 as part of efforts to develop Singapore as a comprehensive marine insurance hub.
Available to members of SSA irrespective of the flag of the ship, and non-members whose ships are registered in Singapore, the cover under SWRM rules includes Protection and Indemnity (P&I) war risks, hull war risks, detention and diversion expenses, sue and labour and discretionary insurance.
In a short span of four years since its launch, the SWRM cover has exceeded expectations with close to 800 ships insured.
To augment the SWRM, SSA spearheaded a work group which prepared the SWRIC, a comprehensive set of insurance conditions which aims to raise the bar on existing war conditions in the marketplace today, by bridging coverage gaps as well as updating and simplifying the existing war conditions available in the market.
The SWRIC are also the first insurance conditions to be written from a shipowner’s perspective, addressing important risks that are felt by the global shipping community.
Local expertise will be developed to ensure that the conditions are updated and remain relevant to the industry.
Bolstering digitalisation of electronic Bills of Lading to facilitate inter-operability across more digital solutions
To further digitalisation efforts in the maritime sector and to bring about benefits to the wider supply chain ecosystem, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is galvanising the shipping community and other government agencies to develop inter-operability enablers.
This is a step-up to the three-party Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that MPA, SSA and Singapore Customs signed at the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map launched in January 2018 to jointly look into the digitalisation of trade and maritime documentation, such as Bills of Lading (BL), in the industry.
Since the signing of the MOU in January 2018, the industry has seen progress with successful e-BL trials amongst consortiums led by two shipping lines – one by APL and the other by PIL and IBM.
The trials simplify existing processes as well as leverage blockchain technology to bring various trading parties together to support information sharing and transparency.
To facilitate inter-operability of the solutions developed by the various consortiums, the members are excited to include a new MOU partner, Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), to develop a new inter-operability framework.
The MOU signing ceremony, which took place at the SSA event, was witnessed by the Guest-of-Honour, SMS Lam.
Working together with IMDA, the industry can expect to see different digital ecosystems inter-operate seamlessly with efficient exchange of electronic trade documents.
The work will entail the development of a set of governance and legal frameworks, technical standards and inter-operable digital enablers.
“The close partnership between the Government, the industry and SSA is a unique competitive advantage for Singapore. We must continue to strengthen this partnership. This will enable Maritime Singapore to stay relevant and competitive,” said SMS Lam.

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