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Singapore sets out ambitious innovation plan to grow maritime sector's value-add by $3.4bn

Singapore sets out ambitious innovation plan to grow maritime sector's value-add by $3.4bn
15 January 2018

As it looks to retain and build on its status as an international maritime centre Singapore has launched a transformation plan to drive innovation and connectivity with aim to grow the maritime sector’s value-add by SGD4.5bn ($3.4bn) and create more than 5,000 jobs by 2025.

The Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) was launched on Friday by Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min and was developed by the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in partnership with the industry, trade unions and other government agencies.

The MPA said the industry transformation map sets out specific initiatives related to innovation, driving productivity improvements and enhance the skills of the maritime workforce.

The maritime industries are a key component of the Singapore economy contributing some 7% of GDP and employing over 170,000 people.

“The ITM will also complement our strategies to grow our port and international centre and help us achieve our vision for Singapore as a ‘Global Maritime Hub for Connectivity, Innovation and Talent’,” said Minister Lam.

With the launch of the ITM Singapore set ambitious targets of growing the maritime sector’s value-add by SGD4.5bn and creating 5,000 new jobs by 2025.

Launched at the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) New Year cocktail reception, Andreas Sohmen-Pao chairman of SMF commented: “You may have noticed the key words in the ITM are connectivity, innovation and talent. This new emphasis – which includes non-physical flows like data and technology – will require new forms of collaboration.”

On the connectivity front Singapore will continue to strengthen its international maritime centre building up the connectivity of maritime clusters and the port which connects to 600 other ports worldwide.

The country is also investing in new port capabilities with Tuas New Port, which aims to be an “intelligent port”. At PSA’s existing Pasir Panjang Terminal a fleet of 30 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) have been deployed in a trial with automated yard and quay cranes.

In the area of innovation the MPA Living Lab will offer technology developers a rich maritime data platform and a real operating environment to develop and pilot solutions.

To underpin the aims of the transformation plan five Memorandums of Understand (MoUs) were signed between the MPA and various parties at the launch.

The MPA and NUS Enterprise signed a MoU on the maritime technology acceleration programme to encourage start-ups in the maritime tech field.

“We are excited to help bridge start-ups with this flagship industry to generate entrepreneurial interest and accelerate start-up development; as well as provide a platform for corporates in the industry to engage with start-ups,” said Lily Chan, ceo of NUS Enterprise.

MPA also signed an MoU with Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) to joint look into the digitisation of trade and maritime documentation including an electronic Bill of Lading.

“The shipping industry is currently very paper-intensive involving many sets of documents to be delivered to various agencies for approvals and clearance. The electronic bill of lading (e-BL) will be a boon to the shipping industry as it significantly reduces the amount of physical copies,” said Esben Poulsson, president of SSA.

In the third MoU MPA, SSA and Glee Trees signed an agreement on a proof-of-concept for development of a tool for ship agencies using robotic process automation.

With the skills of the future maritime workforce set to change at present and MoU was signed between MPA, Jurong Port and the National Transport Workers’ Union to equip employees at Jurong Port with future-ready skills.

Also in the area of skills development a fifth MoU was signed between MPA, PSA, the Singapore Port Workers Union and Port Officers Union on development of human capital for the next generation container port.