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A new initiative in the form of a by-invitation forum named Maritime Capital Forum is expected to take place in mid-November this year in Singapore, led by SSA and supported by an investment house, according to Lee Keng Mun, SSA Councillor, Finance Workgroup.

Lee told a media briefing held on Monday in Singapore as part of the Singapore Maritime Week 2017 that the forum, which will not happen on just a one-off basis, will aim to educate investors who are not familiar with the shipping sector and create a platform to bridge serious investors with shipping players.

Both the equity and debt markets have suffered from a lack of investor confidence, and the capital forum can inform investors on how different shipping is compared to other sectors, what investments are needed, and ultimately we hope to grow the debt and equity markets in Singapore, Lee said.

Shipping and offshore companies listed on the Singapore Stock Market (SGX) are going through a challenging period due to the industry downturn.

Amidst the restructurings and bankruptcies saw for Singapore-listed shipping and offshore companies such as Rickmers Maritime, Swiber, Swissco and Nam Cheong, Lee pointed out that investors need to understand that the maritime market is cyclical and to see the value proposition.

Poulsson concurred There are still investors around that are opportunists and looking at value proposition. He added that SSA continues to remain active in engaging all the relevant stakeholders in the fields of ship finance and marine insurance and collaborating with the SGX with an eye to increasing listings from the maritime sector.

In other areas of growth for Singapore’s maritime sector on the regional cooperation level, Singapore has gained the support of Asean member states for the development of a common Asian Ballast Water exemption area, according to Michael Poon, executive director of SSA.

Poon explained that this development is especially welcomed for vessels engaged in regional trades, allowing them to be exempted from the IMO and US Coast Guard ballast standards.

Poon added that an independent party will need to be engaged to check on the ballast water content for these regional vessels in order not to compromise on environmental standards while at the same time exempting the vessels from undergoing unnecessary retro fittings and dry docking.

At the local level, according to Poulson, cooperation remains strong between Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) and other stakeholders to look at ways to increase productivity, streamline operational efficiencies and generally resolve any difficulties the shipping industry in Singapore may have encountered relating to operations and services in Singapore.

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