"Evolving regulatory landscape, organizational restructuring to leaner workforce and demands for higher productivity are still prevailing challenges faced by the industry. As we gear up for Industry 4.0 in process, technology and organization, industry players will need to relook how they can align their business operations with cyber platforms via vertical integration."
The new carbon tax will come into effect in 2019. How do you think it will affect the industry?
The implementation of the carbon pricing regime is one way of encouraging the industry to achieve our sustainability goals under the Paris Agreement. The government announced in the recent Budget 2018 that a flat carbon tax rate of S$5/tCO2e will be implemented. This fee has been reduced from S$10-20/tCO2e, as announced in Budget 2017. However, the industry has always advocated for the carbon tax regime to be based on benchmarking as compared to a flat tax rate. In the long term, benchmarking systems will motivate companies towards lowering carbon emissions while ensuring the competitiveness of their business operations in Singapore.
What initiatives are the SCIC currently working on?
Industry productivity and sustainability continue to be key focus areas. SCIC is exploring ways to help industry address and support industry sustainability needs in areas of energy efficiency, conservation of water resources, waste management and the reduction of environmental emissions. For example, we are working closely with UK Energy Institute on industry capability building efforts to upgrade companies’ knowledge on energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions. This is in parallel to the implementation of the carbon policy. The Productivity Council comprising the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Association of Process Industry (ASPRI) and SCIC, has recently embarked on the trial certification process, aiming to improve the productivity levels of the Process Industry.
Singapore launched the Energy & Chemicals Industry Transformation Map (E&C ITM) in October 2017 focusing on innovations through Industry 4.0. There has been ongoing collaboration with the EDB on enhancing greater awareness amongst industry players including the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to leverage on innovation and ensure that the industry is ready for the Industry 4.0 evolution.
Can you tell us more about Singapore’s first national standard for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering that was launched by the SDO@SCIC together with MPA and SRPING Singapore?
To maintain Singapore’s position as a premier bunkering hub, it is important to remain competitive and to keep abreast of new growth and developments regionally and internationally. To achieve this, the shipping industry is constantly looking at solutions to meet more stringent regulatory requirements. Singapore has also taken measures to provide cleaner and alternative sources of fuel such as LNG. In April 2017, the SDO@SCIC together with MPA and SPRING Singapore jointly launched the first Singapore Technical Reference (TR) 56 for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Bunkering. The Technical Reference (TR) 56 for LNG Bunkering was developed to help the maritime industry in Singapore pave the way towards a low sulfur requirement in bunker fuel following the announcement by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to cap the sulfur content of marine fuel at 0.5% from 2020. The TR 56 provides a safe, efficient, sustainable and transparent technical framework for conducting LNG bunkering operations in Singapore, thereby offering greater assurance to local and international LNG bunker buyers and suppliers.
What regulatory changes have been implemented to address safety in the industry?
Health, safety, environment & security performance remains a key priority of the chemical industry. With the enactment of the Workplace Safety and Health (Major Hazard Installations) regulations in September 2016, SCIC has been building capacity and Safety Case knowledge to prepare companies to implement Safety Case regime regulation. To date, more than 300 practitioners from 70 companies have been trained. We have also launched the Safety Case E-Forum that allows the Major Hazard Installations community to exchange information.
Moving forward, as we continue to instill a safe work environment, SCIC has been working closely with the Ministry of Manpower and Workplace Safety & Health Council to reinforce the “Vision Zero” movement, starting with Jurong Island. Since the incorporation of the 7th code on Security into Singapore’s Responsible Care program last year, a set of self-evaluation guidelines on security practices has been developed. These fit-for-purpose guidelines aim to encourage companies to achieve continuous improvements in security performances through a risk-based approach.
What are the main challenges facing the chemicals industry in Singapore?
Evolving regulatory landscape, organizational restructuring to leaner workforce and demands for higher productivity are still prevailing challenges faced by the industry. As we gear up for Industry 4.0 in process, technology and organization, industry players will need to relook how they can align their business operations with cyber platforms via vertical integration. Apart from that, integration horizontally across the entire value chain is equally important.
Chemistry is essential in our daily lives. The chemical industry has a key role in addressing and providing solutions to environmental, human health, workplace safety and climate change issues. We are also the enabler to technologies and innovation advancements. The continued breakthrough in innovation by the chemical companies will be able to support the projected population growth of close to 10 billion people by 2050.