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Singapore launches Smart Port Challenge in push for innovation and digitalisation

Singapore launches Smart Port Challenge in push for innovation and digitalisation
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has launched the first Smart Port Challenge 2017 (SPC 2017) on Monday as part of the port authority’s wider effort to develop innovation and push ahead with digital transformation.

MPA said SPC 2017 is built upon the last two Smart Port Hackathons in 2014 and 2015, which brought together maritime people and other professionals to develop innnovative solutions to enhance productivity and sustainability in Singapore port.

SPC 2017 is now conceived to further encourage collaboration between organisations, start-ups and the venture capital community to push digital transformation in the maritime industry.

MPA said it has welcomed close to 190 registered participants comprising start-ups and non-start-ups.

Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA, said: “Digital transformation has a key role to play in our competitiveness as a global maritime hub. SPC 2017 will bring together new and existing start-ups to research and develop innovative applications for IT solutions in the maritime sector and is part of our wider industry transformation effort to develop an innovative maritime start-up ecosystem to take advantage of the growing applications of automation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and data analytics in the maritime industry.

“We are also collaborating with ports such as the Port of Rotterdam which has embarked on similar port hackathons to develop innovative solutions for their port. Through such partnerships, we hope to encourage more solutions that are scalable and applicable across the entire port value chain,” Tan said.

MPA noted that the advent of technologies such as the Internet-of-Things (IoT), data analytics and machine learning have created smarter ships while major players in the shipping industry are also developing blockchain solutions to digitise, manage, and track shipping transactions which could potentially save the industry up to billions of dollars.

However, these do not come without challenges, such as asset utilisation, manpower training, and ways to effectively manage processes so new technology infrastructure can become part of the operational strategy.

The six-month programme of SPC 2017 will take a new approach with the involvement of industry partners providing funding and test-bedding opportunities in partnership with the venture capital community.

MPA and PSA unboXed will provide seed funding support of up to SGD50,000 ($36,200) for each selected start-up to develop full prototypes with the possibility of implementation for business operations. Start-ups can also look forward to seed funding support from other venture capitals while shortlisted non start-ups will be eligible for MPA’s Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) funding for test-bedding or product development.

Some partners of SPC 2017 include CMA CGM, Hong Lam Marine, Jurong Port, NYK Line, Pacific International Lines (PIL), PSA Marine, and Synergy Marine Group.

Jean Yves Duval, senior vice oresident Asia of CMA CGM, commented: “Through the Smart Port Challenge organised by MPA, the maritime and container industry and the start-ups community can collaborate to brainstorm and address challenges faced by the maritime and container industry. This is indeed a great opportunity to unlock value through innovation and digitalisation.”

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