The Singapore Maritime Employers Federation (SMEF) believes that tripartism will play an important role in the city-state’s shipping industry.
SMEF chairman Francis Joseph, speaking at the 60th anniversary of the trade union, said tripartism is a key ingredient in promoting harmonious labour-management relations in the country’s shipping community, as collaboration among unions, employers, and the government has been a key competitive advantage for country’s overall progress in the sector.
“The federation has lived up to the strong belief and drive to maintain good industrial tripartite relationships. The SMEF has conducted its activities in harmonious, effective, and dignified manner befitting of its industry stature,” said Joseph.
Despite being a well-established International Maritime Centre (IMC) and the world’s largest bunkering hub, Singapore faces stiff competition amid global economic conditions and evolving maritime regulations.
Citing the Singapore Registry, which has more than 4,000 ships totalling more than 50 million tonnes and ranks among the top 10 registries in the world, Michael Elwert, director of ship management services company Thome Group said, “There are increasing number of ship registries offering the same services and yet at cheaper prices and Singapore Registry has to compete against that.”
Nevertheless, Elwert noted that the country’s ship registry has a long proven track record, marked by active participation by the state, unions, and companies in maintaining the competitiveness.
Joseph, echoing Elwert, acknowledged the challenges faced by the registry and said the federation aims to work closely with government agencies to raise Singapore’s maritime sector standards.
“We shall continue to work hard for the interests of the shipping industry in Singapore, knowing that success can only be achieved with good co-operation among the many stakeholders, our member companies, government, trade unions, seafarers, and their families,” concluded Joseph.