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New tech platform to help Singapore's maritime sector innovate: MPA

The new MPA Living Lab will provide real operating conditions in the port of Singapore to help industry partners develop and pilot innovations, MPA says. 

SINGAPORE: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Wednesday (Mar 8) announced measures to enhance Singapore's competitiveness as a "hub port".

In a media release, it announced the establishment of the MPA Living Lab, a platform which will provide real operating conditions in the port of Singapore to help industry partners develop and pilot innovations.

The Living Lab, which will be set up in 2017, will focus on developing capabilities in data analytics and intelligent systems, autonomous systems and robotics, smart and innovative infrastructure and safety and security.

For example, a maritime data hub will be set up to help develop applications such as those to forecast traffic conditions and potential collisions, as well as to track vessel arrivals.

The MPA Living Lab will be "the first of its kind in the region", said Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA. He added that it will help Singapore to "transform its maritime sector into a high technology industry through the test-bedding and development of new systems and capabilities for future port operations".

It will also enable companies to test locally developed solutions under actual operating conditions.

MPA also said that it will partner with the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) to set up three maritime research Centres of Excellence within local institutes of higher learning over the next five years.

The first centre, focusing on maritime environment and energy, will be launched by MPA and Nanyang Technological University by the second quarter of this year. Two other centres focusing on port operations and maritime safety will be established later.

ENHANCED FUNDING

MPA added that it has enhanced the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) for Manpower Development (MCF-MD) to include a wider scope of topics for training programmes and longer durations for overseas training attachments.

It has also increased the co-funding for MCF-Productivity (MCF-PD) from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of qualifying costs, and expanded the scope of qualifying costs to include software licensing, specialised hardware as well as salaries of up to two company employees to carry out the productivity projects.

The enhancements took effect from Feb 1 and will be drawn from existing MCF funds, MPA said.