The Significance of Maritime Arbitration in Singapore

How Singapore became one of the world’s busiest trading ports

Singapore’s strategic location has allowed it to flourish into one of the busiest commercial ports in the world, drawing a large number of ships into its port and ranking as the second-busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage. This is due to the Asian maritime routes directly passing through Singapore. Additionally, it continues to be the busiest transshipment port in the world, transhipping half of the annual supply of crude oil and a fifth of all shipping containers.

To address the shifting needs of the shipping industry, Tuas Port was officially opened in 2022. At its targeted completion in the 2040s, Tuas Port will have a handling capacity of 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), almost double the volume of 37.5mil TEUs handled in 2021. It will also be the world’s largest fully automated port,1 making Singapore a leading global player in the maritime space.

What is Arbitration in Singapore?

Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism whereby the parties submit their dispute to a neutral tribunal to render a legally binding decision on the dispute. Instead of going to court, the parties arbitrate their disagreement in private and confidentiality. All types of civil disputes can be settled through arbitration. In addition to the traditional dispute resolution areas like construction and business, arbitration can settle disagreements in fields such as employment, tenancy and renovation projects.

Several factors come together to make Singapore an attractive location for arbitration. Not only does it have an independent judiciary that excels at handling challenging legal issues related to arbitration, but it also provides first-rate facilities and infrastructure that are tailored specifically to handle arbitrations.

What is Maritime Arbitration?

Maritime arbitration refers to arbitration involving a ship, such as the chartering of an offshore support vessel. Due to its diversity and scope, maritime arbitration is regarded as the pinnacle of international commercial arbitration. However, it has occasionally been described as a specialised industry-based form of arbitration that would only be useful to the shipping industry. Yet, the truth is that anyone who interacts with ships, including those involved in international trade, may be subject to maritime arbitration.

Arbitration versus courtroom litigation

Arbitration is more appealing to parties in business disputes than courtroom litigation due to its many inherent advantages. One benefit is speed; whereas the latter can take up to years depending on court schedule, the former can take months to resolve once an arbitrator is chosen. Cost is another important consideration; while the former has relatively low fees, the latter can be very expensive due to high court costs and high attorney fees. The former also offers more privacy because it is handled privately between the two parties, whereas the latter occurs in a courtroom open to the public.

How DennisMathiew can guide you through the arbitration procedure

At DennisMathiew, we take pride in being an experienced and capable law firm that provides legal services in a variety of industries, primarily using expertise and knowledge in shipping, oil and gas, as well as the global logistics industry, and with shipping as its primary area of business. Our group of knowledgeable arbitration lawyers frequently helps clients seize ships for security purposes or to enforce their maritime claims.

If you are unfamiliar with arbitration but want to enter into an arbitration agreement, you can trust that we can guide you through the procedure and make it less intimidating for you. Visit or fill out the contact form on our website to learn more about the arbitration process.