On Feb 22, the Marine & Offshore Engineering (M&OE) Industry Transformation Map (ITM) was launched by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) Mr S. Iswaran.
Currently, the M&OE industry is an ecosystem of more than 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), anchored by world-leading homegrown companies and multinational corporations. In 2016, the industry contributed S$3.6 billion to Singapore’s GDP, S$12.3 billion to Singapore’s total manufacturing output, and employed more than 23,000 local workers.
“M&OE is a pioneer industry that has also been one of Singapore’s most resilient, having weathered multiple downturns in the past, and always emerging stronger,” said Minister Iswaran.
To build a resilient, innovative and competitive M&OE industry in Singapore, the M&OE ITM aims to serve as a roadmap to drive transformation and capture long-term growth opportunities. The ITM is developed as a collective effort of the M&OE Industry Tripartite Committee comprising government agencies, trade associations and chambers (TACs), unions and industry leaders.
The M&OE ITM targets to generate about S$5.8 billion of value-add and create 1,500 jobs by 2025.
Considering the industry downturn due to low oil prices in recent years, the Singapore Government worked alongside associations and unions to provide interim measures to support the M&OE industry and workers.
Such efforts include SPRING Singapore’s Bridging Loan (BL) scheme, and IE Singapore’s enhanced the Internationalisation Finance Scheme (IFS). The two schemes have catalysed nearly S$700 million in loans to more than 100 unique borrowers with 80% of them being SMEs.
Effort was also made to facilitate the redeployment of employees affected by the downturn in the same industry or adjacent industries. For example, the Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees’ Union (SMEEU) has partnered the Employment and Employability Institute to facilitate job placements.
Digitalisation and innovation
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) Mr S. Iswaran identified digitalisation as a key opportunity for the M&OE industry transformation.
“Digital technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence can help M&OE companies improve their operational efficiency, develop cost-effective solutions and generate new revenue streams,” said Minister Iswaran.
To ensure Singapore’s MO&E industry stays competitive globally, the Government is helping companies invest in advanced manufacturing, including additive manufacturing, robotics and automation.
Job creation and skills training
At the M&OE ITM launch, Minister Iswaran also launched the Skills Framework for Marine & Offshore. The Skills Framework for Marine and Offshore developed jointly by government agencies and industry stakeholders charts out 7 career tracks in the industry, covering 29 job roles and 96 existing and emerging technical skills and competencies. It was developed by employers, industry associations, unions and education providers, together with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), WSG, EDB and SPRING Singapore.
SMEEU will be engaging employers with the Skills Framework, to help companies design progressive human resource management initiatives and talent development plans.
In April, the Institute of Technical Education will offer a new Work-Learn Technical Diploma in M&OE for ITE students. On top of the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) in Marine Production and Marine Design, new ELPs will be rolled out this year in areas such as robotics, automation and the Industrial Internet of Things.
Advanced manufacturing as a key growth area
The Government has identified advanced manufacturing as a key growth area and committed S$3.2 billion to research and development in advanced manufacturing and engineering under our Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan.
For example, SPRING Singapore has helped local SME, Mencast Energy, invest in automation to enhance processes for blasting, cleaning and painting of oil storage tanks.
At the same time, the Government is helping companies develop next-generation solutions that enable remote monitoring, enhance predictability and support decision-making. Other than supporting in-house research & development (R&D) initiatives of companies, Singapore also encourages public-private R&D collaborations.
An example is Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (TCOMS), a joint initiative of A*STAR and the National University of Singapore, which integrate public research and industry expertise to co-develop innovative concepts and infrastructure for marine and offshore operations
Another opportunity for the M&OE industry lies in diversification into new growth areas. New growth areas include Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in which global expenditure is expected to exceed US$280 billion by 2021, and offshore renewables such the global offshore wind market which is projected to exceed US$130 billion by 2023.
The M&OE ITM was launched in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI).
Established in 1968 and initially named the Singapore Association of Shipbuilders and Repairers, ASMI now has over 250 members operating in domains like shipbuilding and repair, rig building and marine equipment.