Singapore aims for 1,500 new jobs, S$5.8b value-add in revamp of marine and offshore engineering industry

The marine, offshore and engineering industry transformation map targets to generate some S$5.8 billion of value-add and create 1,500 jobs by 2025.
The marine, offshore and engineering industry transformation map targets to generate some S$5.8 billion of value-add and create 1,500 jobs by 2025.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A multi-agency team led by the Economic Development Board (EDB) has charted out a road map to rejuvenate and transform the beleaguered marine and offshore engineering (M&OE) industry.

The M&OE industry transformation map (ITM) launched by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran on Thursday (Feb 22) targets to generate about $5.8 billion of value-add and create 1,500 jobs by 2025.

The EDB acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that Singapore's M&OE industry has gone through one of its most trying periods over the past three years after a collapse in oil prices in 2014 triggered a prolonged downturn.

But the industry remains a key component of Singapore's economy, having contributed $3.6 billion, or about 1 per cent, to the country's gross domestic product, $12.3 billion to its total manufacturing output and employed more than 23,000 local workers.

The Government, alongside associations and unions, has introduced interim measures to support industry players through the downturn. Two schemes - Spring Singapore's Bridging Loan (BL) and IE Singapore's enhanced Internationalisation Finance Scheme (IFS) - catalysed nearly $700 million in loans to more than 100 unique borrowers; 80 per cent of these are small and medium-sized enterprises. Effort was also made to reskill employees affected by the downturn so that they may be redeployed to new job roles in the same industry or adjacent industries.

In seeking to map out the journey ahead for the industry beyond the current downturn, the M&OE ITM has identified three key thrusts: Preparing for the future through innovation and productivity improvements; pursuing new growth areas; and equipping Singaporeans with relevant skills.

To ensure Singapore's MO&E industry stays competitive globally, the Government is helping companies invest in advanced manufacturing, including additive manufacturing, robotics and automation.

In addition, help will be extended to companies seeking entry into adjacent segments that are still seeing expansion. The Government has identified the liquefied natural gas and offshore wind sectors as two potentially new target segments for M&OE industry players who have mostly relied heavily on the oil and gas sector for the bulk of their order intake.

Citing industry projections, the EDB noted that global expenditure on LNG may exceed US$280 billion by 2021, while the global offshore wind market is anticipated to breach US$130 billion by 2023.

The ITM also outlined initiatives to help individuals navigate through the career paths and reskill for opportunities in the evolving MO&E industry.

These include the Skills Framework for Marine and Offshore and SkillsFuture Series. The Skills Framework for Marine and Offshore developed jointly by government agencies and industry stakeholders charts out seven career tracks in the industry. It covers 29 job roles and identifies 96 existing and emerging technical skills and competencies.

The SkillsFuture Series features short and modular courses such as advanced manufacturing and data analytics. These courses offer training in skills projected to be in demand in an increasingly digitalised and automated M&OE industry.