Singapore Invests More in Future Maritime Industry

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has presented four strategies which will drive Singapore’s next phase of growth as a global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation and talent.

MPA plans to strengthen the connectivity and interlinkages of the country’s maritime cluster, build a vibrant innovation ecosystem and develop a future-ready and skilled maritime workforce.

What is more, MPA is to enhance the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) by additional SGD 100 million (USD 76.1 million) in an effort to support its maritime vision.

Strengthening Singapore’s Connectivity and Interlinkages

To boost physical connectivity, MPA said it will continue to work with PSA to invest in port capacity and infrastructure to meet the industry’s long-term needs. By the first quarter of this year, Pasir Panjang Terminal Phases 3 and 4 will be fully operational, bringing the total port capacity to 50 million TEUs.

What is more, reclamation works for the first phase of Tuas Terminal are also progressing well, according to MPA. A total of 166 out of 221 caissons for Phase 1 have been installed, and the last caisson will be installed by early 2019. Concurrently, PSA is testing out its new automated terminal operation systems involving the automated guided vehicles, yard and quay cranes, with the view of deploying such systems at the future Tuas Terminal.

To boost non-physical connectivity, MPA intends to continue to expand the range of maritime services available in Singapore. Apart from encouraging existing players to set up new business activities, MPA is to promote the growth of non-traditional players such as maritime technology enterprises like Alpha Ori and Metcore.

MPA will also co-fund the cost of shared workspaces and services to encourage expertise and resource sharing between maritime companies.

In the longer term, to foster collaboration and co-innovation across maritime and other related sectors such as logistics, MPA, PSA and other government agencies will experiment with concepts such as inter-modal logistics and explore the setting up of a port and logistics cluster at Tuas, which could spur the development of more efficient systems for supply chain management.

Building a Vibrant Innovation Ecosystem

To ride on the emerging technologies and develop future capabilities and solutions, MPA revealed plans to launch the Maritime Transformation Programme (MTP) and set up the Singapore Maritime Data Hub (SG-MDH). This will enable the port authority to build “an enabling ecosystem that fosters innovation and R&D in the maritime sector.”

In collaboration with National Research Foundation, institutes of higher learning, research institutes and industry, the MTP is to deepen Singapore’s maritime R&D capabilities in four focus areas.

Related: MPA Singapore Riding the Digitalization Wave

Data is said to be a key enabler for MPA’s digitalization efforts. To promote data sharing, MPA will establish the SG-MDH, a one-stop data repository with a centralised application programing interface gateway and data management capabilities. SG-MDH will help enable the development and test-bedding of innovative digital apps and services for the maritime industry.

SG-MDH will also serve as a collaborative platform for technology companies, startups and maritime stakeholders to co-develop innovative data-driven maritime solutions, support projects under the MPA Living Lab and enhance connectivity among key stakeholders in the maritime logistics ecosystem.

Developing a Future-Ready and Skilled Maritime Workforce

Besides systems and technologies, MPA will continue to invest in the development of its maritime workforce. MPA will roll out a new global talent program by 2019. The port authority aims to partner with up to 20 maritime companies with a strong focus on human capital development over the next seven years.

Enhancing Maritime Cluster Fund

As explained, the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) will now be used to co-fund proofs of concept relating to the conceptualisation of new products or services to catalyze innovative concepts and forge collaborations amongst maritime players.

MPA’s financial boost to MCF is aimed at implementing its plans under the Next Generation Port 2030, the International Maritime Centre 2030 and the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map. The fund is expected to support about 30 new projects and benefit some 5,000 people annually.