Sembcorp Marine said it is suffering fresh labour shortages due to the resurgence of Covid-19 in many of Indian subcontinent nations from which it traditionally recruits workers.

Singapore recently barred entry to non-resident travellers from India after a dramatic increase in that country's Covid-19 infections and the emergence of new virus variants.

On Monday, the city state announced that all long-term Singapore pass holders and short-term visitors who have travelled to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan in the last 14 days will also not be allowed into the country.

“The group continues to face Covid-19 supply chain constraints and shortage of skilled workers,” Sembcorp Marine said in an update Monday.

“Foreign workers who left Singapore over the past year could not return due to ongoing border controls in countries such as India and Bangladesh.”

The Singapore-listed shipyard and engineering group said the improving local economy had also led to increased competition for foreign labour already here, resulting in attrition of labour to competing industries.

As a result, the company said it was “actively sourcing for skilled workers from other countries” and was working with the relevant authorities to expedite their entry into Singapore.

Sembcorp Marine said the shortage of skilled workers had “impacted the execution and scheduled completion of some of our projects”.

However, the Singapore-listed company confirmed that there had been “no cancellation to-date” of any of its existing projects.

Sembcorp Marine said it was actively tendering for more than 10 projects, especially in the renewable energy and gas solutions segment. Photo: Sembcorp Marine

“The group continues to work closely with our customers to coordinate and re-schedule project completions,” Sembcorp Marine added.

Despite the labour shortages, the group said it continued to focus on the execution of its existing order book of over SGD 1.89bn ($1.4bn), including SGD 300m of ongoing repairs and upgrades for delivery in 2021.

During the first quarter, Sembcorp Marine said it secured “multiple contracts for repairs and upgrades”, including a long-term contract with a European owner and operator of luxury cruise ships and yachts.

On future orders, the company said market sentiment has improved although the post-Covid-19 recovery remains uncertain.

“There are increasing signs of active reviews of final investment decisions and improved orders visibility. However competition for new projects remains intense,” the company said.

Sembcorp Marine said it was “actively tendering” for more than 10 projects, especially in the renewable energy and gas solutions segment.

“A similar number of tenders are in progress for the process solutions segment covering floating production, storage and offloading vessels, floating storage and offloading units and FPUs,” it added.

Looking ahead, Sembcorp Marine said its strategic investments had “positioned it well” for the global transition to a low-carbon economy and the pivot towards cleaner and greener energy sources.

However, the company warned that with the re-introduction of Covid-19 measures in recent weeks, including tighter border controls, its operations could be further impacted by workforce supply and quarantine restraints.

“Resolving the skilled manpower shortage on a timely basis is the group’s key priority to address the risk of project delays or terminations,” Sembcorp Marine added.