Singapore MPA Tops Up Research Fund
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has committed a further S$50 million ($37 million) to its Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund, extending its term to 2021.
With the top-up, the total amount allocated to the fund stands at S$200 million.
The MINT Fund was established in 2003 with S$100 million to support R&D and test-bedding of maritime technologies by universities, research institutes and companies in Singapore over a period of ten years. It was topped up by another S$50 million in 2013 and extended to 2018.
By co-funding up to 50 percent of project costs, the MINT Fund encourages companies with a local presence to undertake maritime R&D and use Singapore's port and maritime facilities as the test-bed for their innovations. Since its inception, the fund has supported more than 290 projects in areas such as port automation, marine environment and navigation safety.
These efforts have resulted in innovations such as automation of container port operations, a novel ballast water treatment process and a real-time under keel clearance monitoring system to prevent the grounding of ships. The automation of container yards operations for instance, enables one operator to remotely control multiple yard cranes.
New Maritime Manpower Schemes
The MPA has also set aside S$12 million over two years to attract, develop, and retain local talent in the sector. Some 5,000 individuals are expected to benefit from the new manpower schemes, which will be rolled out progressively from May 1, 2016. The scheme will help Singaporeans and permanent residents re-skill and take on quality jobs in the maritime industry.
Under the scheme, MPA will co-fund fresh graduates and mid-career entrants with no maritime background to undergo a structured training program that will enhance their employability in selected maritime jobs in the port, shipping and maritime services sectors.
To encourage companies to take on employees through the scheme, MPA will also co-fund 50 percent of each employee’s wage for the first six months after they have completed their training.
Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “MPA will continue to commit resources to attract, develop and retain local talents in the maritime sector. The introduction of the various manpower schemes to provide support to maritime companies and a wide spectrum of our local talent pool reaffirms MPA’s commitment to develop a quality maritime workforce and ensure that Singapore remains well-positioned when we emerge from the shipping downturn.”