SINGAPORE: A new Maritime Transformation Programme (MTP) and the setting up of a data hub, as well as an injection of S$100 million in the Maritime Cluster Funds are among initiatives to position Singapore’s maritime industry for the next phase of growth.
These were revealed by Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min during the Ministry of Transport’s Committee of Supply debates session on Wednesday (Mar 7).
Dr Lam said the MTP, which was first announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget 2018 speech, will be supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and MPA to co-fund the development of technologies with “high potential” for industry applications. Industry partners are expected to match the investments, he added.
In a separate press release on Wednesday, MPA said the MTP will be rolled out “over the next few months” and will focus on four areas:
- Efficient and intelligent world-class next-generation port
- Smart autonomous vessel and maritime operations
- Strategic sea space and maritime traffic management
- Effective maritime safety and security
“With its focus on automating and digitalising port and shipping operations, and enhancing maritime safety and security, the MTP will be pivotal in driving industry transformation – making our port smarter and safer, and our international maritime centre more competitive,” Dr Lam said.
He also said MPA will launch the Maritime Technology Acceleration Programme to lend a helping hand to start-ups. The scheme means promising start-ups and entrepreneurs here will receive tailored mentorship from industry partners, and networking opportunities with potential investors, he explained.
PORT, SHIP DATA TO BE OPENED UP
In addition to the MTP, Dr Lam said MPA will set up the new Singapore Maritime Data Hub to spur innovations in the industry. For a start, the hub will make available to the public real-time access to port- and ship-related data and other data sets will be shared later, he added.
Examples of the initial data sets include vessel information, vessel arrival and departure time and vessel position and movement, and these will be made available by the third quarter of this year, MPA said.
The agency will also look to integrate the Singapore Maritime Data Hub with the National Trade Platform and other industry-wide and Government systems.
“With this rich information resource, anyone will be able to analyse or even overlay the data with their own data sets, opening up possibilities for the development of new applications, services and products,” Dr Lam said.
INVESTING IN TALENT
Beyond these initiatives, the MPA will also roll out a new Global Talent Programme by 2019 to groom local maritime talent for future leadership and management positions.
It said it will co-fund 70 per cent of eligible expenses incurred by companies prepared to train these local talent through structured rotations and overseas attachments, and aims to partner up to 20 maritime companies with a strong focus on human capital development under this programme over the next seven years.
As for the Maritime Cluster Fund, which facilitates the growth of the sector by supporting manpower and business development efforts and drive for productivity improvements, Dr Lam said the agency will top it up by S$100 million.
The funds, he said, will be used to implement these new manpower programmes and other initiatives in the Sea Transport industry transformation map. It will also be used to grow non-traditional players in this space, and support pilot projects to test new business concepts, he added.
The new fund is expected to support about 30 new projects and benefit about 5,000 people annually, MPA said.