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Manufacturing vital for Singapore: Minister

Ross O. Storey | June 6, 2011
Singapore's manufacturing industry has been acknowledged as one key reason for the strong rebound of the Lion City economy after the global financial crisis.

Singapore's minister of state, ministry of trade and industry and ministry of national development, Lee Yi Shyan.

Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 14.5 per cent in 2010, led by a 29.7 per cent surge in the manufacturing sector, according to an official government statement.

The Lion City's growth momentum has continued healthily at 8.3 per cent into the first quarter of this year.

The manufacturing sector again outpaced other sectors by growing higher in the first quarter of 2011 at 13.1 per cent, with sub-sectors such as the biomedical manufacturing (BMS), precision engineering and electronics clusters, being star performers.

The importance and role of Singapore's manufacturing industry were highlighted last week (Friday, 3 June 2011) by the Lion City's minister of state, ministry of trade and industry and ministry of national development, Lee Yi Shyan.

"The contributions of manufacturing sector goes beyond itself but encompasses spin-offs for other sectors such as logistics, communications, business services, insurance and banking," Lee said. "Our commitment is to render manufacturing even more competitive and synergistic as part of the knowledge-based economy we are building for the new century."

New SOXAL investment

The minister was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the S$500 million (US$407 million) Singapore Oxygen Air Liquide (SOXAL), air separation unit, hydrogen plant, gas pipeline network at the chemical process technology centre, on Singapore's Jurong island.

"As a result (of the manufacturing industry's success, the ministry of trade and industry (MTI) has also revised our (Singapore's) annual growth rate from 4-6 per cent, to 5-7 per cent," said Minister Lee.  

He said SOXAL, and its industry partners, will embark on the vision of 'Jurong Island 2.0' to drive collective sustainability and competitiveness. They will do so by working on new infrastructure development and system-level optimisation of valuable resources such as energy, carbon, water and land.

Under the product grid initiative, as Jurong Island grows, companies are exploring the feasibility of an island-wide common pipeline infrastructure. The minister said this would diversify the supply of feedstock (including industrial gases) and optimise land use, raising competitiveness and reliability of supply in the process.

A 'living lab'

"Under Jurong Island Version 2.0, Jurong Island can be a 'living lab' for companies to develop and demonstrate innovative solutions that can improve collective energy efficiency," Lee said. An example of a project currently under study, is the harnessing of cold energy generated by the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal slated to come on-stream in 2013.

"By utilising the cold energy from the LNG terminal for an air separation unit, one can reduce overall energy requirement which in turn results in lower operating costs for the end users," Lee said.


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