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MPA Singapore signs multiple MOUs to drive innovation

MPA Singapore signs multiple MOUs to drive innovation, digitalisation, automation and human capital development

At the launch
of Singapore’s Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map,five Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed
between Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (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.

Boosting participation
of startups in maritime industry

MPA and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial
arm of the National University of Singapore, signed an MOU for a period of
three years to jointly execute the Maritime Technology Acceleration Programme
(MTAP). It aims to encourage Singapore’s maritime industry to accelerate
innovation, experimentation and venture into adjacent/new growth areas through
working with tech start-ups.

The collaboration will include a residency partnership at
Block 71 within the JTC Launchpad @ one-north, and both parties will jointly
organise activities under the MTAP.

One of the core activities is Smart Port Challenge (SPC),
which aims to attract start-ups to tackle challenges in the maritime industry.
The SPC is an annual competition that discovers and attracts global start-ups
to tackle challenges in the port, shipping and maritime logistics domain put
forward by maritime corporates. Start-ups will be connected to participating
industry partners through a series of ideation workshops. The next SPC is
expected to be launched in April 2018 during Singapore Maritime Week.

Shortlisted start-ups from the SPC will develop their
prototypes through a 10-week curriculum. They will spend this time
contextualising, developing and enhancing their prototypes, augmented with
mentorship and training. At the end of the 10 weeks, start-ups will pitch their
solutions at a demo day to a judging panel and successful start-ups will be
provided grants to carry out proof-of-concept or product development projects
with industry partners.

Ecosystem building activities will be organised to increase
awareness among start-up communities on the opportunities in maritime and port
industry, as well as increase interactions and collaborations between maritime
corporates and start-ups. There will be a series of ‘Kopi-chat’ sessions and
workshops, co-organised by MPA and NUS Enterprise throughout the year, to encourage
corporate innovation adoption amongst maritime corporates.

Digitalisation of
trade and maritime documentation

A 3-way MOU has been
signed between MPA, Singapore Customs and SSA
(Singapore Shipping Association) to jointly
look into the digitalisation of trade and maritime documentation in the
industry. Through this collaboration, the parties aim to promote
digitalisation, by showcasing the value gained through productivity, time and
cost savings.

The focus areas of this MOU will include collaboration with
multiple industry stakeholders to digitalise the documentation required across
the maritime industry and leveraging suitable technologies such as distributed
ledger technology or blockchain to achieve greater assurance of trust and
integrity of the shipping documentation passing through the supply chain
players.

The parties to the MOU will also work on the development of
standards for the digitalisation of maritime-related documentation with
industry partners. MPA, Singapore Customs and SSA, together with the partners
in the maritime industry will work closely together to identify and prioritise
relevant maritime-related documentation for digitalisation and one such key
document is the bill of lading (“-BL”). They will also drive the development of
a supporting legal and governance framework. The outcome of the digitalisation
efforts of the BL will be implemented through the National
Trade Platform
to leverage the efforts to reach out to the wider trade and
supply chain community to promote the adoption of eBL.

Mr. Ho Chee Pong, Director-General, Singapore Customs, said,
“The MOU signifies Singapore Customs’ commitment in working with the public and
private sectors to enhance cross-border trade efficiency and facilitate more
seamless data exchange. Implemented through the National Trade Platform, the
initiative to digitalise the BL will leverage technology to bring about greater
convenience to maritime industry players and productivity gains for businesses.
Singapore Customs is excited to embark on the digital transformation journey
with our maritime partners and to realise the vision of the Sea Transport
Industry Transformation Map.”

Robotic process
automation technology in the ship agency sector

Ship agencies are important to ship owners and operators in
coordinating critical commercial functions and fulfilling a wide range of
essential services such as port and crew clearances. As part of the
co-operative efforts to improve productivity in the ship agency sector and
transform the roles of ship agents to take on higher-value jobs in future, MPA, the Singapore Shipping Association
(SSA) and Glee Trees Pte. Ltd.
have signed an MOU on a proof-of-concept
(POC) for the development of a shipping agency tool.

The proposed shipping agency tool will be using Robotic
Process Automation (RPA) technology to allow ship agencies to automate manual
processes such as data entry and validation to reduce the time-intensive and
repetitive nature of existing workflows. The POC will be initiated jointly with
several ship agencies and upon successful conclusion, could be rolled out to
other ship agencies subsequently in need of such a solution.

“SSA is pleased to be part of this national narrative which
recommends that ship agencies in Singapore move towards an Excellence Model.
Automated robotic intelligence that leverage on both structured and
unstructured data to streamline job processes is a welcome initiative to
transform the agency model. This transformation will facilitate more retention
of talent, and also paves the way for existing employees to develop new
skillsets in data analytics. At the same, it will enable the sector to attract
more talent into the industry,” commented Mr. Esben Poulsson, President of SSA.

Developing human
capital

Under a tripartite 5-year MOU between MPA, Jurong Port Pte Ltd (JP) and the National Transport Workers’ Union
(NTWU)
, the parties will collaborate to equip port employees with
future-ready skills to enhance capabilities, increase workplace safety and
productivity to support JP’s transformation into a next generation
multi-purpose port. The MOU, which will last for five years, will see MPA, JP
and NTWU work together to build competencies of port employees through
practical and immersive experiences such as internship, work-study programmes
and overseas training attachments. The parties will also leverage the Jurong
Port Academy to deliver technical training to its workforce and groom future
industry leaders in support of the next generation multipurpose port.

Another 5-year, 4-party MOU between MPA, PSA Corporation Limited, Singapore Port Workers Union (SPWU) and
Port Officers’ Union (POU)
, the parties will work on a host of human capital
development initiatives to support the transformation towards the next
generation container port. The MOU, which will last for 5 years, will cover
training and development of port employees, enhancement of capabilities, and
outreach efforts to elevate the profile of maritime careers. These initiatives
will help equip port employees with vital new competencies, and attract youth
and mid-careerists into the port sector.

Featured image: Zairon/ CC BY-SA 4.0