Five agreements inked to boost innovation in Singapore's maritime sector

The Keppel and Brani Terminal.
The Keppel and Brani Terminal.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE -The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) on Thursday (April 27) inked five memorandum of agreements (MOUs) with industry players to advance innovation and build technological capabilities in the maritime sector.

The agreements with both local and international partners, including PSA and Singapore Technologies Electronics (ST Electronics), were signed at the opening of the Singapore Maritime Technology Conference.

"These MOUs aim to catalyse research, innovation, as well as pilot adoption of emerging technologies and enhance information flow and connectivity within the maritime community," said the MPA in a statement, adding that the agreements come as part of industry transformation efforts to drive competitiveness and new growth areas.

The MPA's agreement with port operator PSA was to renew the MPA-PSA Port Technology Research and Development Programme for the third term for three years.

The agreement, first signed in 2011, represents a combined S$30 million committment from both parties to boost collaboration in the research and the test-bedding of new technologies for the future Tuas terminal. It aims to step up research and development (R&D) and capability development in the areas of digitalisation, connected community systems, and automation and robotics.

The MPA also extended an earlier agreement with Jurong Port on the application of port technology for a second term of another five years. The MOU, now renamed as the Next Generation Multipurpose Port Programme, has also been expanded to include innovation and productivity initiatives, the application of data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT), environmentally sustainable projects as well as those for safety and security.

Both the MPA and Jurong Port have each allocated S$8 million to the joint programme.

To drive maritime technology R&D, the MPA is teaming up with ST Electronics to work together on projects to enhance port and shipping operations, and develop technology standards with industry partners.

This MOU will focus on vessel traffic management systems, intelligent systems for shipping operations, and autonomous operations and robotics.

Additionally, the MPA signed two MOUs to look at the development of smart ships. The first was with Lloyd's Register on maritime technologies R&D, while the other was a four-party collaboration together with Alpha Ori, LR and NUS's Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine.

The four parties aim to set up a Centre of Innovation and conduct joint research in the areas of data analytics for smart shipping, the use of robotics and unmanned systems in port and shipping for operations, maintenance and inspections in hazardous zones, and maritime cybersecurity.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan noted that the MOUs are in line with its efforts to take the maritime sector into its next stage of development, where data analytics, intelligent systems and IoT will open up new opportunities for Singapore's port operators, companies and research institutions to develop innovation solutions.

"We believe the time is ripe to leverage new technologies to ensure Maritime Singapore stays ahead of the curve as a world-class port and international maritime centre," he said.

The Singapore Maritime Technology Conference at Marina Bay Sands is held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week. It is a showcase of prominent maritime and port technology trends and developments, and ends on April 28.

Correction note: The photo caption has been corrected to state that it's the Keppel and Brani Terminal.