The ninth Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) began on April 6, featuring 29 events for everyone, from industry players to the general public.

According to Andrew An, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), since 2006 when Singapore became the first country in Asia to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention, the MPA organised this week annually to reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Singapore as a major international maritime centre.

This year’s event, themed “People, Ideas and Opportunities”, aims to raise awareness of the public, especially the young, about Singapore ’s maritime industry.

Singaporeans were offered chances to visit the SMW exhibition at three shopping malls from March 31 to April 6. Budding and professional photographers were invited to participate in the “Through Your Lens” photo competition from Dec. 13, 2013 to Feb. 14. Meanwhile, students, maritime employees and public went on Maritime Learning Journeys to get a first-hand experience of Singapore ’s dynamic maritime industry.

For the maritime industry, SMW is an ideal platform to exchange ideas and discuss issues or developments pertinent to the industry with Asia’s 5th Annual FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) Conference and Asia ’s 6th Annual Offshore Drilling Conference being held from April 6-9. They focus on FPSO shipbuilding market dynamics, strategic business models, latest insight on the global offshore drilling sector, including a focus on Asian offshore drilling investment landscape.

SMW events create opportunities for delegates to meet, network and forge business relationships. The TOC Contain Supply Chain Asia Conference will provide a comprehensive event for the container transport community while the Singapore Yacht Show offers an opportunity to discover some of the world's finest super-yacht and international yacht brands in a highly social setting.

According to the MPA, Singapore port recorded a 2.9 percent year-on-year rise in container volumes in 2013 with 32.6 million TEU, making it the world's second busiest box port after China 's Shanghai.

In bunkering, Singapore remains the world's largest bunkering port with a runaway volume of 42.68 million metric tonnes last year, down slightly from 42.69 million metric tonnes in 2012.

MPA added that annual vessel arrival tonnage reached 2.33 billion gross tonnes in 2013, an increase of 3.2 percent from the 2.25 billion gross tonnes achieved in 2012. Containerships and tankers were the top contributors, each accounting for around 30 percent of total vessel arrival tonnage.

Singapore ’s maritime industry contributes 7 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and hires about 170,000 people. As an international maritime centre, the industry is made up of some 5,000 companies from 130 shipping groups, offering a diverse range of products and services.-VNA