Phoon said his organisation is reaching out to the young
The Asian shipping industry must create a unified "Asian Voice" to express its views on issues including piracy and greenhouse gas emissions, Patrick Phoon, president of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) told reporters at Singapore Maritime Week, the SSA said in a press release.
"World shipping is moving east, that is clear, so it is important for the SSA to work more closely with other organisations in Asia to ensure the Asian message is heard internationally," Phoon said.
"The industry is going through difficult times but we must all ensure that shipping is fit and strong when the crisis ends."
Phoon said industry groups can help boost shipping's image both in Asia and globally.
"Encouraging the young to join our industry is absolutely a key objective of the SSA," he said.
"In fact we are trying very hard to glamorise the shipping industry to make it more 'sexy' to attract young people to join our shipping industry."
Patrick Phoon, President, SSA
We must all ensure that shipping is fit and strong when the crisis ends
Phoon noted that some young women in Singapore are beginning to seek jobs as deck officers and engineers.
He also added that Singapore's shipping industry enjoys an advantage because its government is supportive of its work.
"For us in Singapore, we are fortunate that we have a government who listens very closely to the shipping industry," he said.
"As an island state without any resources and very limited waters, we have nothing to lose but to exploit our advantages - of being blessed with a deep water harbour, strategically located at the crossroads of East and West, and in the fastest growing region in the world - to the fullest."
The government of Singapore has also been supportive of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering, and officials have said it will begin supplying the fuel by 2015.