Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Transport

13,000 new jobs in air, sea sectors by 2025

The deployment of smart technologies - such as automated guided vehicles and smart watches - will help aviation workers like this marshaller work better and faster.
The deployment of smart technologies - such as automated guided vehicles and smart watches - will help aviation workers like this marshaller work better and faster.ST FILE PHOTO
The deployment of smart technologies - such as automated guided vehicles and smart watches - will help aviation workers like this marshaller work better and faster.
HIGHER SKILL AND VALUE: Innovation and the intensive use of technology will transform the way people work and companies do business. - SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT JOSEPHINE TEO, on the nature of air and sea transport jobs in the future.

MPA to provide more funds for upgrading; CAAS working with partners to boost productivity

About 13,000 jobs will be created in the air and sea transport sectors by 2025, as Singapore continues to expand its airport and port operations.

The nature of the jobs, though, will be different, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo in Parliament yesterday during the debate on the Transport Ministry's budget.

"Innovation and the intensive use of technology will transform the way people work and companies do business," she said.

The increasing deployment of smart technologies means that new jobs will be more knowledge-intensive.

Currently, there are 250,000 workers in these two sectors, which contribute around 10 per cent to Singapore's gross domestic product.

  • $9.17 billion

    Total bill, down 12.2 per cent

    70

    Number of new or revised bus routes introduced under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme

    98%

    Percentage of public buses that will be wheelchair-accessible by next year. This will go up to 100 per cent by 2020

    13,000

    Number of new jobs in the air and sea transport sectors by 2025

More jobs will be created over the next 10 to 15 years, when Changi Airport's Terminal 5 and a new port in Tuas are operational. Both of them will double their current operational capacity.

At the port, more data scientists and operations research analysts will be needed to optimise shipping routes, port operations and vessel traffic management.

At the airport, Changi will need data scientists skilled in air traffic operations research and analysis, to optimise runway and airspace capacities through modelling and simulation, she said.

Technology will also transform existing jobs into higher-skill, higher-value jobs, Mrs Teo added.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will provide more funding and support to help Singaporeans under the Manpower Development and Productivity Fund.

Workers can tap the fund to upgrade their skills to take on these knowledge-intensive jobs, and maritime companies can use the fund to adopt technology to improve business processes, respectively.

Mrs Teo yesterday also assured MPs that the Government was constantly looking at ways to innovate at the port and airport.

Singapore will continue to innovate to stay ahead, she said, addressing concerns raised by several MPs including Ms Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC), Mr Lee Yi Shyan (East Coast GRC) and Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) about intensifying competition in both sectors.

To prepare for the future, the MPA will set up a Living Lab this year at its ports and work with partners to set up three centres to deepen maritime research and development competencies.

It will focus, among other areas, on the development of drones and other autonomous systems to enhance productivity and safety.

Technology to bolster safety and security with smart sensors for detecting intrusions, for example, will also be explored.

In the aviation sector, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is working closely with industry partners to boost productivity and efficiency on the ground.

For example, the deployment of robotics will relieve workers of labour-intensive tasks.

Ground handler Sats uses automated guided vehicles to transport food items between food stores and assembly lines, eliminating the need for workers to walk up and down. This has reduced preparation time by almost 40 per cent.

Another initiative is the use of smart watches paired with hands-free headsets to help ground workers who escort planes to and from the parking gates work better and faster.

Sats technical officer Alvin Chan Yu Tong, 31, who uses the smart watch, said: "This has helped me make better decisions, react faster to changes on the ground and redeploy manpower more efficiently."

Whether in 10, 20 or 50 years, Singapore must remain leading aviation and maritime hubs, Mrs Teo said. "We cannot stop others from upping their game. We will just have to do everything within our powers to stay ahead," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline '13,000 new jobs in air, sea sectors by 2025'. Print Edition | Subscribe