WASHINGTON: Another challenge has been thrown at us, with the Arctic route opening up and offering a potential alternative (Breaking the ice on fragile Arctic’s potential; Aug 28). It is just as well the development of our Tuas mega port is ahead of schedule. There is already pressure from ports in Malaysia and Indonesia that are being added to and upgraded.
And there is the Belt and Road initiative, China’s new Silk Road plan, mainly an infrastructural undertaking that includes ports too. It is important for a fast-moving, progressive country like ours to upgrade infrastructure, incorporate cutting-edge technologies and implement skills training or retraining programmes to remain competitive. This takes on greater urgency now. But we have always excelled when put to the test and will continue to do so, as with our port development. At the same time, there are benefits to be had from becoming involved in the Belt and Road. This huge initiative gives China access to Africa, Asia and Europe through a series of ports, railways and roads, with industrial parks thrown in for good measure. Singapore, as a transshipment centre at the crossroads of the region, can draw on its commercial role and reliability and gain from the increasing trade made possible by the connectivity along the Belt and Road, which will enhance regional integration.