The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
(MPA) will be establishing a Maritime Cluster Fund
(MCF) with S$80 million set aside over five years to promote and strengthen the maritime sector in Singapore. The Fund will be used to help companies in the maritime cluster to acquire specialist knowledge and skills and develop their manpower. This will boost Singapore's cluster of high value-added and knowledge-based maritime activities, lower operating costs and improve efficiency of the maritime sector. The Fund will also be used to provide incentives and concessions to container shipping lines to strengthen our transhipment hub.
Transport Minister, Yeo Cheow Tong, had announced the setting up of the S$80 million MCF in Parliament earlier today. He had said that a key focus of the Fund would be the development of specialist knowledge and expertise needed by the maritime sector.
Of the S$80 million, S$50 million of the MCF will be used to provide funding to the maritime sector to upgrade the expertise of local employees. Such funding could take the form of training grants and relevant local and foreign scholarships. The MCF will also be used to develop local training infrastructure and capabilities. New maritime-related courses at tertiary institutions and executive programs will be developed in consultation with the industry and the academia.
S$30 million will be set aside to help shipping lines reduce operating costs in Singapore. Part of this amount will be used for the further extension of the 20 percent port dues concessions to container ships for another two years from July 2002. Incentives for shipping lines that bring in new business for the Singapore port will also be provided.
The MCF underscores the MPA's commitment to developing Singapore as an International Maritime Center (IMC). It will contribute towards making the Singapore maritime
and port business competitive and attractive to the world.