Speech by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, 2nd Minister of Finance and 2nd Minister Of Foreign Affairs, at The National Day Observance Ceremony of Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd, 18 August 2005, 8.30 am at Jurong Shipyard18 Aug 2005
Mr Lua Cheng Eng - Chairman of SembCorp Marine Ltd,
Mr Tan Kwi Kin - President of SemCorp Marine Ltd
Mr Wong Weng Sun - Managing Director of Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd
Mr Lim Chin Siew - Executive Secretary of SMEEU
Mr Tan Ah Chye - Chairman of SMEEU Jurong Shipyard Branch
Comrades, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to join you today to celebrate our country's 40th birthday.
2. Singapore is today a major maritime hub with a strong offshore, marine and maritime industry. This sector contributes up to 7% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Apart from our strategic location, it is the hard work and commitment of all industry participants that have contributed to our success. The marine industry in Singapore turned in a sterling report card of a total turnover of $5.3 billion for the financial year of 2004. This revenue is a significant increase of 39.8% over the output of $3.79 billion generated in 2003. In the first 4 months of 2005, the industry has already secured a record level of more than S$4 billion worth of contracts with expected deliveries till 2008.
3. Jurong Shipyard is a home-grown Multi-National Company which has developed deep competencies by investing in relationships, technology, resources, research and resilient people.
4. Over several decades, Jurong Shipyard has grown into a world-class company. This achievement is, especially significant because Jurong Shipyard is competing in the technically exacting and challenging global offshore and marine industry.
5. The Company has leveraged on its close working relationships with its worldwide clientele and its rich experience accumulated through a strong track record to expand its business.
6. I understand that Jurong Shipyard in Singapore is investing in technology to break away from reliance on labour intensive methods in order to improve the quality of its products and raise productivity.
7. I am happy to note that In SembCorp Industries' financial result for second quarter released last week, turnover of the group for the quarter rose 11.6 per cent to $1.69 billion with the key drivers being the utilities, marine and logistics units. Marine grew 42 per cent to $467 million. The rig building sector had the strongest growth, followed by ship conversion and offshore and shipbuilding. Marine business profit grew 26 per cent to $21.2 million due to better overall operating profit.
8. By the same token, I want to congratulate you for clinching numerous significant global contracts the past 6 months. Looking at the buoyancy of the offshore and marine industry and numbers that reflect an up cycle that is still in its early stage, I would not be surprised if your order book were to continue to rise even further.
9. I extrapolate from the sharp jump of business to mean good employment for our workers and creation of jobs which I hope more Singaporeans will be attracted to. This happy state of affairs is going to keep you very busy and work you very hard for quite a while.
10. Notwithstanding, I would like to urge all of you, amidst your busy workload, to be mindful of safety. You have a good track record, surpassing both industry standard and Manpower Ministry's target. The challenge ahead is improving further upon your record while meeting your numerous delivery and budget obligations.
11. In this regard, the Union has a large part to play in working with Management to inculcate the mindset of thinking safety first in everything that our workers do. In doing so, we can ensure that our workers come to work and return home safely.
12. Both management and workers must also constantly innovate and think of ways to enhance productivity so that the company can stay competitive. I am happy today to give out awards to various teams of workers who will receive innovation and safety awards.
13. As we celebrate National Day this year, we can all be thankful for the stronger than expected economic growth that Singapore has registered in the second quarter of this year. The results released last week show that we are on track to achieve stable growth in 2005. Ministry of Trade and Industry has raised the estimates of projected growth to 3.5% to 4.5% as compared to 2.5 to 4.5% in the first quarter.
14. On this high note, I wish Jurong Shipyard all the best, and I am confident that the company will further expand, grow and seize the opportunities out there as it moves in tandem with the nation to grow from strength to strength.
Happy National Day!