Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC, at the Second Reading of the Multimodal Transport Bill (Bill No. 42/2020)
Sir, this Bill gives effect to the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Multimodal Transport (AFAMT) signed in 2005. By streamlining the multimodal transport of goods among ASEAN member countries, AFAMT facilitates trade and greater regional economic integration.
A strong logistics hub is the backbone of trade. As Minister Iswaran said at the launch of the Logistics Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in 2016, “logistics is a critical enabler of our economy and our everyday lives”.
Singapore has fared well in the past few years, placing 7th in the world and 2nd in ASEAN in the World Bank’s 2018 Logistics Performance Index.
More recently, Singapore’s strength in logistics has also put it in good stead to become a COVID-19 vaccine distribution hub for the region.
The AFAMT will strengthen our position as a logistics hub and help build a more agile and dynamic logistics network within the region.
Sir, I have two areas of clarification on the Bill.
My first area of clarification is on the registration regime set out for the Singapore Competent National Body.
The process of appealing decisions made by the Competent National Body would benefit from clarity in two respects.
First, will a holder of a registration certificate be able to appeal the Competent National Body’s decision to add to, vary or revoke any of the conditions of a registration certificate?
Second, rather than the Competent National Body state in writing the reasons for refusal to issue or renew a registration certificate only if requested by the applicant, can the Ministry consider making known the reasons for refusal upfront?
Providing reasons for refusal to issue or renew a registration certificate upfront would avoid unnecessary back-and-forth and save everyone some time and effort.
My second area of clarification is on environmental sustainability.
One goal of the AFAMT is to enhance the sustainability of multimodal transport operations.
Can the Ministry share how Singapore’s AFAMT National Work Plan aims to achieve this goal?
The reason I am asking is that a region-wide strategic alignment on transport and logistics is a great opportunity to coordinate ASEAN and Singapore’s plans for sustainability.
In 2019, the European Commission released a report, titled “Transport in the European Union: Current Trends and Issues”. The report provides an array of recommendations on how the EU’s member states can align the development of their multimodal transport network in an environmentally sustainable way.
One recommendation is to impose environmentally differentiated port charges to stimulate investment in green vessels.
Will the Ministry work with regional partners to study such initiatives? This can foster the longer-term development of sustainable transport infrastructure in ASEAN and advance Singapore’s status as a global logistics hub.
Sir, notwithstanding my clarifications, I stand in support of this Bill.
Watch the speech here