Singapore shipyard group Sembcorp Marine (Sembmarine) has been hit by a labour shortage as a result of border controls to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a first quarter business update Sembmarine said, “The Group continues to face Covid-19 supply chain constraints and shortage of skilled workers. Foreign workers who left Singapore over the past year could not return due to ongoing border controls in countries such as India and Bangladesh.”

Further an improving economy in Singapore means greater competition for skilled labour already in the country. “The shortage of skilled workers has impacted the execution and scheduled completion of some of our projects,” it said.

Until recently workers arriving in Singapore from overseas were required to undergo a two week quarantine at a dedicated facility.

However, with the worsening Covid-19 situation in India and elsewhere in the sub-continent new restrictions are now in place. Singapore has banned arrivals by long-term pass holders with travel in the previous 14 days India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Singapore shipyards source much of their labour from countries in the sub-continent.

“With the re-introduction of Covid-19 measures in recent weeks, including tighter border controls, the Group’s operations could be further impacted by workforce supply and quarantine restraints,” Sembmarine said in its outlook.

“Current and future restrictions on travel and transportation could also disrupt global supply chains,” it added.

Both factors could results in delays to projects and, ultimately, cancellations.

“Resolving the skilled manpower shortage on a timely basis is the Group’s key priority to address the risk of project delays or terminations,” it said.

Sembmarine expects losses to continue for the shipyard group in 2021.

Source: Seatrade Maritime