Singapore: Transport and Infrastructure: Visit by Stephen Hammond – February 2014
British High Commission Singapore
Busy, productive programme focused on our two HVOs (rail and ports/airports), supporting companies in the maritime and bus sectors, developing our strategic partnership with the political and business communities, including the British Chamber of Commerce who celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, and attendance at the first EU/ASEAN Aviation Summit. All underpinned by extensive use of GREAT branding, with the GREAT Bus here and the GREAT Britain Clipper yacht just over the horizon.
As well as co-leading the first ever UK/Ireland joint trade mission , Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport undertook an extensive bilateral programme in Singapore 5-12 February.
In a meeting with Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Transport, Mr Hammond highlighted the capabilities that UK companies could offer in the context of Singapore’s ambitious programme of port and rail expansion (both High Value Opportunities – HVOs) including the skills we are developing through Crossrail, our Tunnelling Academy and our upgrade of ageing railways.
Mr Hammond, accompanied by a delegation of locally based UK companies, met senior management at the Land Transport Authority, responsible for the ongoing £30bn expansion of Singapore’s rail system. UK companies have secured £222m of business this financial year (£407m to date). He underscored the UK’s strengths in many areas, including tunnelling, and visited Cashew Station, under construction with significant UK participation.
Mr Hammond also visited SMRT, one of the metro operators. A series of high profile problems in 2011 led to the departure of the previous CEO and several UK companies have helped SMRT improve their line maintenance.
Mr Hammond had an excellent meeting with Singaporean investors in UK transport infrastructure, at which they discussed ongoing work and various project proposals. The Minister also lobbied on behalf of a number of UK companies interested in this sector.
Mr Hammond spoke at a lunch for the Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) and representatives of a number of shipping lines. MCA have been working with us to raise their profile and encourage ships to switch to the UK Shipping Register
In support of our ports’ HVO, he also met the Maritime and Ports Authority (MPA) who briefed on plans to relocate and expand the port and a range of other projects that could usefully be pursued under the UK/Singapore Economic and Business Partnership.
Both MPA and a group of UK marine services businesses that Mr Hammond met over lunch rated talent as their biggest challenge, and education and professional development is another opportunity for UK firms. Some UK universities such as Southampton and Newcastle are already offering courses here in marine-related subjects.
Aerospace and Aviation
Mr Hammond visited Rolls-Royce’s £350m facility at Seletar and their stand at the Airshow to meet their Regional Director .Also at the Airshow, as well as supporting those on the joint UK/Irish stand, Mr Hammond visited a number of UK companies including Cobham and BAESystems plus representatives from UKTI DSO and the Welsh Government. After a tour of the A350, which took part in an impressive flying display, he attended an Airbus lunch that CEO Tom Enders hosted for local “Airbus Ambassadors” where discussion focused on various strategic issues .
The Minister also attended the first EU/ASEAN Aviation Summit which culminated in the signing of a Joint Declaration urging a comprehensive air transport agreement between the two regions with a combined population of 1.1 billion. Mr Hammond spoke on the final panel and stressed the importance of liberalisation and reduction of barriers to the UK aviation/transport agenda, and our strong wish to collaborate with growing markets like ASEAN.
As well as the lunches with MCA and the marine services firms, Mr Hammond met a range of British companies at a round table dialogue at the residence. All highlighted opportunities in Asia but also the challenges around political risk, corruption and transparency, including compliance with the UK Bribery Act, and protectionism. In turn we flagged up the RUBIeS (rules-based international economic system) agenda and the importance of understanding how best we could help, including across the region.
Mr Hammond also attended the British Chamber’s annual “Sterling Sponsors” dinner at which they thank their main supporters. With over 2,300 members and 350 corporates, and celebrating 60 years in Singapore this year, the Chamber is a key partner for us and a leading player in the Overseas Business Network initiative.
GREAT Boat and Bus
Mr Hammond and Ms Foster both spoke at receptions at the residence marking the return to Singapore of the Clipper fleet, which includes a GREAT Britain boat, and the Airshow. The GREAT Bus outside the front door offered a dramatic backdrop, and talking point. The Bus has featured in many other events including an education fair that the Minister visited over the weekend. On Sunday it will be united with the GREAT Britain boat now that the fleet has finally arrived. Both the boat and the bus have featured extensively in mainstream (print and broadcast) and online media demonstrating, once again, the power of the brand.
This was a very productive week of calls, generating multiple opportunities for follow up in pursuit of our HVOs and a range of other objectives, and amplified online and in mainstream media through interviews with Reuters, the BBC and the Straits Times, as well as the joint article in the Business Times. All parts of the programme, including the joint UK/Irish trade mission, came together smoothly .The presence of the bus and prospect of the boat, and our continued use of GREAT material, helped ensure maximum impact.
The purpose of the FCO Country Update(s) for Business (”the Report”) prepared by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is to provide information and related comment to help recipients form their own judgments about making business decisions as to whether to invest or operate in a particular country. The Report’s contents were believed (at the time that the Report was prepared) to be reliable, but no representations or warranties, express or implied, are made or given by UKTI or its parent Departments (the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)) as to the accuracy of the Report, its completeness or its suitability for any purpose. In particular, none of the Report’s contents should be construed as advice or solicitation to purchase or sell securities, commodities or any other form of financial instrument. No liability is accepted by UKTI, the FCO or BIS for any loss or damage (whether consequential or otherwise) which may arise out of or in connection with the Report.