Singapore Boosts Maritime Digitalization


Published Jan 14, 2018 9:54 AM by The Maritime Executive

Singapore's Ministry of Transport launched its Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) on Friday. Developed by industry groups including the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Map builds on MPA’s strategic long term plans to develop Singapore’s next-generation port and staff. 

Over the next decade, more than 5,000 additional jobs and S$4.5 billion ($4.3 billion) in value-add is expected to be generated in the maritime sector which already contributes seven percent of Singapore’s gross domestic product and employs over 170,000 people.

Unveiled by the Minister for Transport Lam Pin Min, the Map calls for upskilling port workers to work with automation such as that being developed at the new port in Tuas. Singapore is currently trialing a fleet of 30 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) along with automated cranes at the Pasir Panjang Terminal with deployment of such technologies to be scaled up at Tuas port. The new port will consolidate all of Singapore’s port operations in a single location. The first phase of the project is expected to be operational in 2021.

At a media briefing earlier in the week, MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said there will be many opportunities for a whole spectrum of roles including marine surveyors, shipping operations officers, ship agents, shipbrokers and charterers. Tan stressed that the restructuring does not entail displacement of workers. He also said that digitalisation will bring immediate benefits to the industry through greater efficiency.

Along with the launch of the ITM, several MOU were signed between MPA and partners on Friday. An MOU signed between Singapore Customs, Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) and MPA covers the digitalization of trade and maritime documents such as a bill of lading. The effort could involve the use of blockchain technology, said Tan.

Separately, an MOU was signed by start-up Glee Tree, MPA and the Singapore Shipping Association for the development of a robotic process automation technology in the ship agency sector. The technology aims to automate manual processes such as data extraction, entry and validation.