Developed by MPA Singapore in partnership with the industry, unions and other government agencies, the Sea Transport ITM has laid out specific initiatives to catalyse innovation, drive productivity improvements, as well as enhance the skills of the maritime workforce. The aim is to grow the sector’s value-add by S$4.5 billion and create more than 5,000 good jobs by 2025.
At the ITM launch, five MoUs were signed between MPA and various tripartite partners to underscore the collective commitment of stakeholders to drive innovation, productivity and human capital development in the transformation of Maritime Singapore.
The maritime industry contributes 7% of Singapore’s GDP and employs over 170,000 people. In 2017, spurred by improvements in global trade growth and the repositioning of major shipping alliances, Singapore’s container throughput grew by 9% to 33.7 million TEUs, from 30.9 million TEUs in 2016.
"Singapore will continue to strengthen its IMC to enhance its long-term competiveness and value proposition to shipping companies and maritime service providers. We will also continue to build up our connectivity to maritime clusters overseas to harness the extensive network effects of such linkages. This will help us remain a leading and vital node in the global maritime network," said MPA Singapore.
Companies like CMA-CGM, COSCO and the merged Ocean Network Express, have grown their corporate presence in Singapore. To sustain competitive advantage and strengthen port connectivity, MPA is also working with the industry to develop the port eco-system in adjacent sectors, such as logistics and e-commerce.
To forge ahead, Singapore is investing in new port capabilities that will capitalise on emerging technologies arising from Industry. Tuas Port will be an efficient and intelligent port that harnesses data analytics to optimise operations such as just-in-time vessel arrivals and the Maritime Single Window for quicker port clearance.
Under the MPA-PSA Port Technology Research and Development Programme (PTRDP), MPA and PSA will jointly step up R&D and capability development in the areas of digitalisation, connected community systems as well as automation and robotics. A fleet of 30 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) have been deployed in a trial with automated yard cranes and quay cranes in the Pasir Panjang Terminal.
MPA also renewed the MoU with Jurong Port on “Next Generation Multipurpose Port Programme” in 2017 to support efforts to digitalise multipurpose port operations. The Jurong Port Living Lab launched last October will provide opportunities for Jurong Port to experiment with innovative ideas and deploy leading edge technologies to enhance productivity.
To drive emerging technologies, MPA will support companies to embark on innovation and productivity-driven growth by putting in place an enabling environment and infrastructure. The MPA Living Lab will offer technology developers and industry partners a rich maritime data platform and a real operating environment at the port to co-develop and pilot innovative solutions. In addition, new research centres of excellence at NTU and NUS will deepen Singapore’s maritime R&D capabilities and accelerate technology transfers and spin-offs to the industry.
Singapore can also leverage digital solutions to enhance operational efficiencies. For instance, the use of Electronic Certificates onboard Singapore-flagged vessels since 2016 has helped reduce the administrative burden and costs associated with traditional paper certificates. MPA, Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association will therefore be jointly looking at the digitalisation of trade and maritime documentation in the industry to co-develop cross-sector solutions, such as the development and adoption of electronic bills of lading, which would facilitate more efficient trade flows through Singapore and bring about benefits to the wider supply chain ecosystem.
As the maritime industry transforms and grows, more than 5,000 good jobs will be created in the next decade. Those in more traditional job roles will undergo skill upgrading as jobs evolve with increasing automation and digitalisation.
To help workers achieve potential, new maritime programmes, such as the Earn and Learn Programmes for seafarers and port operations executives launched by MPA in 2016, will continue to be developed to meet the needs of the industry. Maritime companies can also tap on the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) to up-skill their employees not only in specialised areas, but also in more general areas like data analytics, cyber security, as well as in soft skills, like communication and executive leadership.
Mr Esben Poulsson, President of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), said: “The development of the Sea Transport transformation map is another testimony of the strong alignment between the government and industry in Singapore that has been and will continue to be the key to the success of Maritime Singapore.”