PSA, SUTD sign deal to develop talent for future Tuas smart port

(Pictured from left) Dr Wong Woon Kwong, director of research and industry collaborations at SUTD; Professor Chong Tow Chong, SUTD president; Mr Ong Kim Pong, PSA's regional chief executive for South-east Asia; and Mr Ng Kok Cheong, PSA's head of hum
(Pictured from left) Dr Wong Woon Kwong, director of research and industry collaborations at SUTD; Professor Chong Tow Chong, SUTD president; Mr Ong Kim Pong, PSA's regional chief executive for South-east Asia; and Mr Ng Kok Cheong, PSA's head of human resource.PHOTO: PSA

Tie-up aims to groom pool of professionals in infocomm, data science & engineering

Singapore's port operator yesterday inked an agreement with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to develop a pipeline of talent for the future Tuas port.

A joint statement by PSA and SUTD said the memorandum of understanding is aimed at producing data science, info-communications and engineering professionals for the mega port.

All of Singapore's port operations will eventually be consolidated in the Tuas port, which will harness big data as well as adopt the latest port technologies, including smart systems and automation.

The mega port will open in four phases, with the first berths expected to be operational in 2021.

Under the agreement, PSA will provide port-related content for SUTD's curriculum so that students will learn about smart technologies and systems used in port operations. The details are being worked out, said a PSA spokesman.

Both parties said that they will collaborate to develop a talent pipeline to support PSA's network of info-communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. PSA will also offer internships in the areas of data analytics, smart technologies and ICT to SUTD students.

  • 65m Annual cargo capacity of Tuas port, in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), when fully completed by 2040.

    33.7m Container throughput, in TEUs, for Singapore's ports in 2017.

TIMELY COLLABORATION

PSA values SUTD's strength in combining design thinking and technology, and nurturing technically grounded innovators. This timely partnership allows both parties to capitalise on each other's strengths.

MR ONG KIM PONG, PSA's regional chief executive for South-east Asia.

Mr Ong Kim Pong, PSA's regional chief executive for South-east Asia, noted that the maritime industry is seeing rapid changes, and jobs are being redesigned.

"We are building the competencies needed to reinforce our digital readiness," Mr Ong said.

"PSA values SUTD's strength in combining design thinking and technology, and nurturing technically grounded innovators. This timely partnership allows both parties to capitalise on each other's strengths."

SUTD president Chong Tow Chong said the university's partnership with PSA will offer students valuable hands-on experience in the actual port environment. It will also encourage the free flow of information, ideas and innovation between both organisations, added Professor Chong.

He noted that SUTD already collaborates with PSA on port-related undergraduate projects and internships.

Prof Chong added that the university, together with PSA, is looking to develop data science and maritime-related courses, as well as conduct research and development on next-generation ports and terminals.

When fully completed by 2040, the Tuas port will have the capacity to handle up to 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo a year.

Last year, container throughput rose to 33.7 million TEUs, from 30.9 million in 2016.

 
 

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and PSA are already laying the groundwork for a smart port.

Automated guided vehicles have been deployed in a trial at the Pasir Panjang port, along with automated yard cranes and quay cranes. These automated systems will be scaled up in the Tuas port.

Among other things, MPA and PSA are also exploring the use of drones and robots for tasks ranging from inspection and repairs to the distribution of spare parts.

Singapore's territorial waters off the future Tuas port are the subject of an ongoing dispute between the Republic and Malaysia over maritime boundaries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'PSA, SUTD sign deal to develop talent for future Tuas smart port'. Print Edition | Subscribe