- Surabhi Sahu
- Singapore's MPA unveils S$27 mil aid package for maritime industry amid COVID-19
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore late Wednesday said it would provide financial support of about S$27 million as part of a "MaritimeSG Together Package" for the maritime industry, which is grappling with the adverse impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
“The effect of global supply chain disruption is increasingly being felt by the shipping industry. It is timely that more support be offered to the industry," Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, said in a statement.
"I am confident that this will better position Maritime Singapore for the new normal post COVID-19,” she added.
The package, which will take effect from May 1, 2020, comes after previous measures announced under the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets.
As part of this move, the MPA will provide financial support to companies; financial support to individuals for training; and financial and employment support to Singaporean seafarers.
To help shipowners and operators of cargo vessels, MPA will provide a 30% port dues concession for cargo ships from May 1 to December 31, 2020, it said. MPA will also grant a 30% port dues concession for all non-passenger-carrying harbor craft in the Port of Singapore over the same period as well as 50% rebate on counter rental and overnight berthing for regional ferry operators.
MPA had earlier announced a 35% rebate to regional ferry operators to offset their monthly rental fees for overnight berthing of ships and counter rental at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal for three months starting Mar 2020. With effect from May 1, 2020, MPA will increase this support to 50% until December 2020, it said.
To strengthen longer-term capabilities, MPA will introduce new manpower schemes and increase the co-funding provided under selected Maritime Cluster Fund programs from May 1 to December 31, 2020, among other measures to upskill and speed digital transformation, it said.
MPA said it recognizes that maritime companies may face challenges in managing their cash flows and meeting their financial obligations, due to which it will exercise flexibility in credit management measures from May 1 to December 31, 2020.
MPA will also lend support to seafarers, who are faced with uncertainty due to increased border control measures and crew change restrictions, it added.