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Above photo: Dr Lam Pin Min, SMS, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health, at the PSA ‘Intelligent Port of the Future’ Exhibition showcasing the transformation of port operations through technology and innovation/ Credit: MPA

Above photo: Dr Lam Pin Min, SMS, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health, at the PSA ‘Intelligent Port of the Future’ Exhibition showcasing the transformation of port operations through technology and innovation/ Credit: MPA

Singapore’s Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map aims to grow value-add by S$4.5 billion by 2025

Singapore’s Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) was launched on January 13 by Dr. Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health, at the annual Singapore Maritime Foundation New Year Cocktail Reception.

The maritime industry contributes 7% of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs over 170,000 people. The aim of the ITM is to grow the sector’s value-add by S$4.5 billion and create more than 5,000 good jobs by 2025.

This ITM has been developed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in partnership with the industry, unions and other government agencies­­­­(IMC). Specific initiatives have been laid out under the Sea Transport ITM to catalyse innovation, drive productivity improvements, as well as enhance the skills of the maritime workforce.

SMS Dr Lam said, “The strategies and targets set out by the ITM are undoubtedly ambitious. But with the strong partnership from the industry, the unions and government agencies such as SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore, I am confident that we can achieve our vision for Singapore to be a Global Maritime Hub for Connectivity, Innovation and Talent.”

At the ITM launch, five Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed between MPA and various partners to underscore the collective commitment of stakeholders to drive innovation, productivity and human capital development in the transformation of Maritime Singapore.

The five MOUs are: 1) MPA-NUS Enterprise MOU On Maritime Technology Acceleration Programme; 2) MPA-Singapore Customs-Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) MOU on digitalisation of trade and maritime documentation in the industry; 3) MPA-Singapore Shipping Association-Glee Trees Pte Ltd MOU on the application of robotic process automation technology in the ship agency sector; 4) MPA-Jurong Port Pte Ltd-National Transport Workers’ Union MOU on human capital development for next generation multipurpose port; 5) MPA-PSA-Singapore Port Workers Union-Port Officers’ Union MOU on human capital development for next generation container port

Companies like CMA-CGM, COSCO and the merged Ocean Network Express (ONE), have grown their corporate presence in Singapore. For instance, CMA-CGM has established its Asia regional office, its global Navigation and Port Operations Centre and, more recently, its Asian digital activity hub in Singapore. It has also entered into a container terminal joint venture with PSA. ONE has chosen Singapore as its global liner headquarters; COSCO has expanded its joint-venture with PSA for a third berth at Pasir Panjang Terminal. These activities in turn have drawn in other maritime services providers such as insurance, broking, financial services, classification societies, P&I Clubs, legal and arbitration.

To sustain Singapore’s competitive advantage and strengthen port connectivity, MPA is also working with the industry to develop the port eco-system in adjacent sectors, such as logistics and e-commerce.

Innovation will continue to be a key area of focus as Singapore develops future capabilities and solutions built on emerging technologies such as autonomous systems, robotics, data analytics and artificial intelligence. To drive this next phase of growth, MPA will support companies to embark on innovation and productivity-driven growth by putting in place an enabling environment and infrastructure.

The MPA Living Lab will offer technology developers and industry partners a rich maritime data platform and a real operating environment at the port to co-develop and pilot innovative solutions. MPA will also work with stakeholders to promote greater sharing of data and information within the industry. In addition, new research centres of excellence at NTU and NUS will deepen Singapore’s maritime R&D capabilities and accelerate technology transfers and spinoffs to the industry.

Singapore is investing in new port capabilities that will capitalise on emerging technologies arising from Industry 4.0. The under construction Tuas Port will be an efficient and intelligent port that harnesses data analytics to optimise operations such as just-in-time vessel arrivals and the Maritime Single Window for quicker port clearance.

Under the MPA-PSA Port Technology Research and Development Programme (PTRDP), MPA and PSA will jointly step up R&D and capability development in the areas of digitalisation, connected community systems as well as automation and robotics. A fleet of 30 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) have been deployed in a trial with automated yard cranes and quay cranes in the Pasir Panjang Terminal. Deployment of such automated systems will be scaled up in the Tuas Port.

MPA also renewed the MOU with Jurong Port on “Next Generation Multipurpose Port Programme” in 2017 to support efforts to digitalise multipurpose port operations. The Jurong Port Living Lab launched last October will provide opportunities for Jurong Port to experiment with innovative ideas and deploy leading edge technologies to enhance productivity.

Singapore can also leverage digital solutions to enhance operational efficiencies and provide greater value to its customers. For instance, the use of Electronic Certificates (E-Certs) onboard Singapore-flagged vessels since 2016 has helped reduce the administrative burden and costs associated with traditional paper certificates. MPA, Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association will be jointly looking at the digitalisation of trade and maritime documentation in the industry to co-develop cross-sector solutions, such as the development and adoption of electronic bills of lading (e-BL), which would facilitate more efficient trade flows through Singapore and bring about benefits to the wider supply chain ecosystem.

As jobs evolve with increasing automation and digitalisation, new maritime programmes, such as the Earn and Learn Programmes for seafarers and port operations executives launched by MPA in 2016, will continue to be developed to meet the needs of the industry and to prepare workers for the jobs of the future. Maritime companies can also tap on the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) to upskill their employees not only in specialised areas, but also in more general areas like data analytics, cyber security, as well as in soft skills, like communication and executive leadership.

[1] Roadmaps are being developed for 23 industries to address issues within each industry and deepen partnerships between Government, firms, industries, trade associations and chambers. The ITMs are grouped into 6 broad cluster: Manufacturing, Built environment, Trade & connectivity, Essential Domestic Services, Modern services and Lifestyle.

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