New research centre to boost maritime sector's competitiveness

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) are setting up an $18 million research centre to help Singapore's maritime and port industries develop innovative capabilities, and enhance their global competitiveness.

The Centre of Excellence in Modelling and Simulation for Next Generation Ports (C4NGP) will be part of NUS' engineering faculty, and collaborate with companies in the maritime and port sectors to improve their technical know-how, efficiency and productivity, the two institutions said yesterday. It will also work with companies to ensure its research and development efforts are aligned with industry needs.

It also aims to focus on these areas over the next five years: designing and building maritime systems, conducting navigational channel capacity studies, studying various port terminal systems, and examining land transport-related systems. About 20 NUS researchers are to work on projects in these areas.

Professor Freddy Boey, NUS' senior vice-president of graduate education and research translation, said the centre will work closely with the industry to "co-create cutting-edge solutions that could advance these sectors".

"This concerted effort will greatly enhance the long-term competitiveness of the maritime and port industries, and further strengthen Singapore's strong reputation as a global maritime hub," he added.

The C4NGP governing board, chaired by Prof Boey, will comprise members from key stakeholders like the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and SMI, along with other industry partners.

It will also be jointly led by Associate Professors Chew Ek Peng and Lee Loo Hay from the Department of Industrial Systems Engineering and Management at NUS' engineering faculty.

"The establishment of C4NGP is timely as it deepens our port modelling, simulation and optimisation capabilities. The centre aims to improve the planning and operations of our Next-Generation Port in Tuas, and the ecosystem around the port," said MPA chief executive Andrew Tan.

"It will help PSA and Jurong Port with the optimisation of their existing and future operations as part of the Industry Transformation Map."

The agreement to set up the centre was signed by the dean of NUS' Faculty of Engineering, Professor Chua Kee Chaing, and SMI executive director Toh Ah Cheong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2018, with the headline 'New research centre to boost maritime sector's competitiveness'. Print Edition | Subscribe