SINGAPORE has been named the top international shipping centre in the 2020 Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index, the seventh year in a row it has received this honour.

The Baltic Exchange, together with Chinese state news agency Xinhua, is responsible for publishing the index which is described as “an independent ranking of the performance of the world’s largest cities that offer port and shipping business services”.

According to the index, Singapore enjoyed the advantages of geographical location, shipping industry ecosystem and supportive government policies.

London, with advantages from providing high-end shipping finance, insurance, and legal services, is back in second place after falling to third place in 2018 and 2019.

Singapore tops the list for the seventh consecutive year followed by London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dubai.

London and Dubai are the only top 5 international shipping centres outside Asia, with Dubai retaining fifth place and Athens rising to eighth place.

“Singapore is deeply honoured to retain the top spot in the 2020 Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index for the seventh year running,” Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore CEO Quah Ley Hoon said.

“This good news comes amidst the COVID-19 gloom. The real test will be how we bounce back in a world shaken by an unprecedented crisis.”

Ms Hoon said recovery would require “a global and co-ordinated effort”.

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“In this regard, Singapore will continue to rally governments and the global shipping community to work together and emerge stronger,” she said.

The giant port city of Shanghai, meanwhile, saw “steady improvement” in port facilities and shipping services and ascended to the top three for the first time.

Hong Kong fell to fourth place mainly due to, it was said, a fall in cargo throughput and a drop in rankings regarding ship brokerage, insurance and legal services.

Baltic Exchange chief executive Mark Jackson said while the report reflected a pre-COVID 19 world, ports could build upon their strengths during the recovery.

“We call on all the main shipping hubs to continue investing in education, R&D and new services,” Mr Jackson said.

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