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Connectivity Crucial to Singapore's Role as Maritime Hub

Connectivity Crucial to Singapore's Role as Maritime Hub
March 7, 2018 Joseph Fonseca

To continue growing the maritime cluster and capturing new opportunities, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will strengthen the connectivity and inter-linkages of Singapore’s maritime cluster, build a vibrant innovation ecosystem and develop a future-ready and skilled maritime workforce.

MPA will also enhance and top up the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF)[1] by $100 million in support of our vision for Maritime Singapore to be the Global Maritime Hub for Connectivity, Innovation and Talent.

Strengthening Singapore’s Connectivity and Inter-linkages
MPA will strengthen Singapore’s connectivity to capture both physical and non-physical flows. This will enable Singapore to remain as a thriving hub for maritime activities and businesses. To boost physical connectivity, MPA 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 twenty-foot equivalent units.

Reclamation works for the first phase of Tuas Terminal are also progressing well. 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 will continue to expand the range of maritime services available in Singapore to increase our attractiveness as a maritime hub. Besides encouraging existing players to set up new business activities, MPA will 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
Digitalisation and automation are rapidly changing the competitive landscape of many industries, including port and shipping. To ride on the emerging technologies and develop future capabilities and solutions, MPA will launch the Maritime Transformation Programme (MTP) and set up the Singapore Maritime Data Hub (SG-MDH) to build an enabling ecosystem that fosters innovation and R&D in the maritime sector.

Maritime Transformation Programme
To be rolled out over the next few months, the MTP will build new capabilities and capture new growth areas for the maritime industry. In collaboration with National Research Foundation, institutes of higher learning, research institutes and industry, the MTP will deepen Singapore’s maritime R&D capabilities in four focus areas:

a. Efficient and intelligent world class next generation port;
b. Smart autonomous vessel and maritime operations;
c. Strategic sea space and maritime traffic management; and
d. Effective maritime safety and security.

Funding will be made available for industry partners to co-contribute to develop new industry capabilities and technologies that have high potential for industry application.

Singapore Maritime Data Hub
Data is a key enabler for our digitalisation efforts. To promote data sharing, MPA will establish the SG-MDH, a one-stop data repository with a centralised application programming 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.

As a start, the SG-MDH will make available to the public real-time access to MPA’s port and ship-related data such as vessel information, vessel arrival and departure time and vessel position and movement by the third quarter of 2018. MPA will work with stakeholders such as classification societies and maritime companies to make their public data available via the SG-MDH, and will also look to integrate the SG-MDH with the National Trade Platform and other industry-wide and government systems.

Developing a Future-Ready and Skilled Maritime Workforce
Besides systems and technologies, MPA will continue to invest in the development of our maritime workforce. MPA will roll out a new Global Talent Programme (GTP) by 2019 to groom a pipeline of local maritime talent for future leadership and management positions. MPA will co-fund 70 per cent of eligible expenses incurred by companies which are prepared to commit to training local talent through structured rotations and overseas attachments. MPA aims to partner up to 20 maritime companies with a strong focus on human capital development under GTP over the next seven years.

Enhancing Maritime Cluster Fund
The Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) will continue to be an enabling tool to support our efforts to enhance productivity and encourage innovation, and the development of a multi-skilled maritime workforce with a global mindset.

To catalyse innovative concepts and forge collaborations amongst maritime players, MCF will now be used to co-fund proofs of concept relating to the conceptualisation of new products or services.

MPA will top up the MCF by $100 million to implement our plans under the Next Generation Port 2030, the International Maritime Centre 2030 and the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map. The MCF is expected to support about 30 new projects, and benefit some 5,000 people annually.

Together, these four broad strategies will drive Singapore’s next phase of growth as a Global Maritime Hub for Connectivity, Innovation and Talent, and ensure that Singapore continues to be well-positioned and ready to seize the new growth opportunities that may emerge.