Lee Kok Leong, our special correspondent, attends the inaugural World Congress on Maritime Heritage 2019. The Congress starts today in Singapore with Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Communications and Information giving the opening speech.
He reiterated the vital importance of Singapore’s maritime industry; it comprises 5,000 companies, contributes seven percent to the GDP and employs 17,000 people.
As such, the government is taking deliberate steps to further grow and develop the industry and it sees the industry as a lifeblood of Singapore.
Dr Puthucheary said that we must press on to grow the maritime industry. But as we do so, he believes we must find ways to preserve our rich maritime heritage.
The government is acutely aware and is working on solutions regarding balancing economic needs with environment impacts as well as preserving heritage.
He gave examples of working very closely with the International Maritime Organisation and industry on initiatives to reduce greenhouse emission, pioneering LNG bunkering and conducting an environment impact assessment before land reclamation in the new Tuas terminal.
The three-day Congress, co-organised by the Consortium for International Maritime Heritage (CIMH) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is from 13 to 15 March at RWS.
With its theme ‘Connecting with the Past to Navigate the Future’, the Congress is set against the backdrop of the commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial.
The Congress coincides with the 200thanniversary of the founding of the modern state of Singapore, a major global hub and important gateway for shipping, finance, and commerce today.
With its strategic location along the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the maritime industry has been central to the history, rise, and development of Singapore.
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