THE Port of Singapore maintained its position as one of the busiest in the world as it recorded container throughput of 33.9 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) in 2014, 4 per cent more than the 32.6 million TEUs registered in 2013.
Total cargo tonnage handled last year also rose 3.5 per cent over 2013 to 580.8 million tonnes, according to Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, who announced the advance estimates of Singapore's 2014 port performance on Friday.
This was however not enough to displace China's Shanghai port, which earlier this week revealed a 2014 throughput of 35.29 million TEUs - making it the world's busiest container port for the fifth consecutive year.
Speaking at the Singapore Maritime Foundation New Year cocktail reception, Mr Lui noted that in 2014, annual vessel arrival tonnage reached a record high of 2.37 billion gross tonnes (GT), a 1.9 per cent increase over the 2.33 billion GT achieved in 2013. Container ships and tankers were the top contributors, each accounting for around 30 per cent of total vessel arrival tonnage.
Singapore remained the world's top bunkering port in 2014. The total volume of bunkers sold in the Port of Singapore was 42.4 million tonnes, a slight dip from 42.7 million tonnes in 2013.
The Singapore Registry of Ships maintained its growth momentum last year. Compared to 2013, the total tonnage of ships under MPA's register grew by 11.7 per cent or 8.6 million GT. In 2014, the total tonnage of ships under the Singapore flag climbed to 82.2 million GT, from 73.6 million GT in 2013, consolidating Singapore's position as one of the top 10 ship registries in the world.
Mr Lui also pointed out that as one of the world's leading International Maritime Centres (IMC), Singapore continues to attract a broad range of maritime enterprises. It is now home to over 130 international shipping groups and a total of 5,000 maritime establishments. The maritime cluster employs more than 170,000 people and contributes some seven per cent to Singapore's GDP.
With oil prices falling, Mr Lui said that there is room for cautious optimism in 2015, as ship owners and operators will get some cost relief.