Planning Far Ahead to Keep Our Port Competitive

Scholarship Guide MPA Scholar Wu Zhenwei

Studying in China has enabled MPA Scholar Wu Zhenwei to deal with China’s huge shipping companies.

Before joining MPA, I have always thought that Maritime Singapore was simply about loading and ­unloading containers using mega cranes at the ­ever-busy Singapore port. Singapore is blessed with a superb location between the East and the West, and most passing vessels have to stop here to replenish their fuel and relay their goods. However, I soon realised that beyond physical ­cargo flows, business flows are also critical to making Singapore tick.

Singapore is home to a comprehensive maritime ecosystem of over 5,000 maritime establishments ­ranging from ­shipbrokers to ship financiers and even maritime ­arbitration firms. Hence Singapore’s competitive advantage stretches beyond being a busy international hub port, to that of an impressive international maritime centre.

What excites me is that Singapore has always looked far ahead. In 2004, the ­International Maritime Centre (IMC) ­Division was formed in MPA to lead the organisation in becoming a global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation and talent, far earlier than most countries. I am now part of this dynamic team. Moving forward, the IMC2030 Strategic Review Report has been jointly written by shipping association and industry leaders this year to chart out Singapore’s game plan for the next decade and beyond. At the same time, we would still be handling containers, but we will be moving multiples of them concurrently in remote offices using forefront ­system technologies.

I chose to study International Relations at Peking University, China, as I was intrigued by the rise of China which is rapidly gaining traction. I wanted to better understand the Chinese perspectives of the world. Now as I embark on my job, I find my insight into the Chinese mentality and their way of doing business useful in encouraging ­China-based shipping companies such as China COSCO Shipping and Sinotrans & CSC to expand their operations in Singapore and exploring opportunities on international projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative with them for Maritime Singapore. By making Singapore a vibrant marketplace for key global maritime activities, I aspire to contribute to the long-term growth of our local economy.

In the grand scheme of things, the rise of China is but a representation of global trends. My generation is thankful for ­inherit the fruits of labour that our ­adventurous and hardworking predecessors have amassed for us. It is important to remember that what we have today did not come by chance, and Singapore remains but a little red dot on the global drawing board. With that, I strive to keep ­Singapore ahead of the changing tides caused by global ­competition and technological ­innovations.

MPA Overseas Scholarship
Attained: Bachelor in International Relations from Peking University, MSc in Management at SMU
Now: Assistant Manager (IMC Promotion), International Maritime Centre Division
From: Dunman High School