Specifically, as Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA highlighted

Innovation and digitalisation are key areas for Maritime Singapore to sharpen our competitive edge. We recognise that some companies need help to kick-start their digitalisation journey.

She continued that in light of the above, MPA has formed the Circle of Digital InnOvators (CDO) network to champion the adoption of technology and innovation.

Also, MPA is collaborating with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) to encourage more maritime corporates to join the CDO network, which was set up in late 2018 to help drive transformation through the adoption of technology and innovation.

CDO's goal is to spread digitalization goals in the marine sector and boost the innovation hub status of Maritime Singapore.

In the meantime, MPA is partnering with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), to launch the Sea Transport Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for the ship agency and harbour craft sub-sectors.

Similar to the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map, the Sea Transport IDP provides small and medium enterprises in the Sea Transport industry with an easy-to-use guide on digital solutions to adopt at each stage of their growth.

The process of SMEs being digitalized are becoming simpler, in order to access the right digital capabilities to achieve internal efficiencies, reduce cost and improve their services for sustained growth in the digital economy.

Moreover, the IDP includes a Digital Roadmap (Training) to make sure that the industry is ready to adopt the new digital solutions. MPA noted that the amount of $3.7 million has already been secured to help SMEs in the following three years.

As mentioned above, the SMI has renewed the Singapore Maritime R&D Roadmap. The Roadmap is based on five strategic research thrusts:

  1. Efficient and Intelligent World-Class Next Generation Port
  2. Strategic Sea Space and Maritime Traffic management
  3. Smart Fleet Operations and Autonomous Vessels
  4. Effective Maritime Safety & Security
  5. Sustainable Maritime Environment & Energy

Additionally, another 'smart' step MPA made is the cooperation between the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI). The research will be based on ultra-high power density wireless charging for maritime applications.

During the conference, MPA roped in the maritime CDOs to help articulate industry problem statements, to provide innovation opportunity for various groups such as:

  • Global start-ups through PIER71 Smart Port Challenge;
  • Singapore-based technology companies through Maritime Innovation & Technology (MINT) Fund Call for Proposals;
  • Local universities and research institutions through SMI Call for Proposals.

Following, MPA and NUS Enterprise will launch the 2019 edition of Smart Port Challenge (SPC) under the PIER71 initiative, which will be enhanced in the areas of start-up mentorship, corporate partnership and access to potential investors. MPA has since awarded 13 projects for pilot testing with maritime companies as test-bedding partners from the 2018 cohort of start-ups.

These include the test-bedding of a data accelerator product to improve throughput efficiency of satellite communication by SkyLab Services; development of an AI-Prediction Engine for Vessel Arrival Timing by AIDA Technologies; and a Ship Suppliers Platform to improve productivity for ship chandlers and visibility of ship supplies by Ship Supplies Direct.

Concluding, during the conference, the winners of the Low Cost LNG Retrofit (LCLR) Challenge, organised by Nanyang Technological University through its Maritime Energy & Sustainable Development (MESD) Centre of Excellence (MESD COE), Shell Tankers (Singapore) Pte Ltd (Shell) and DNV GL Singapore Pte Ltd (DNV GL), were unveiled too. The LCLR Challenge was organised to develop new ideas which could overcome the economic challenge of retrofitting an LNG fuel system to an existing vessel.