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Singapore unveils measures to bolster Silicon Valley of maritime ambitions

Photo: Marcus Hand MinistercheeSMTC.png
Singapore outlined measures on Tuesday to boost its maritime technology eco-system and become the Silicon Valley for the global shipping industry.

Speaking at the opening of the Singapore Maritime Technology Conference (SMTC) Chee Hong Tat, Singapore Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport said that the city state needed to focus on  providing an environment that encourages risk taking and collaboration with both internal and external partners.

“We want to build an ecosystem that encourages experimentation and creative solutioning. It is not about avoiding failure completely – it is about providing a safe space to fail,” said Chee.

This would provide a conducive environment for companies and individuals to try ideas and for many to fail before leading to a successful idea that can provide a sustainable and scalable solution.

“This supports our vision of becoming the Silicon Valley of the maritime world, where ideas and talents come together to develop innovative maritime solutions that can transform the industry,” he said.

As part of this Singapore aims to increase the number of start-ups in its accelerator programme PIER71 from 30 to 120 by 2025. To support this the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will set aside $10m from the MINT (Maritime Innovation and Technology) Fund to drive start-ups.

A new grant scheme MINT START-UP completed the PIER71 or other relevant maritime acceleration programmes in Singapore can apply for a grant of up to SGD50,000 for their projects, and up to SGD100,000 for promising scale-ups.

The Singapore authorities will also provide spaces to test new technologies.

“We will provide sandboxes for new technology to be piloted in a safe environment, for us to better assess risks and the viability of new solutions,” Minister Chee said.

One such example is the Drone Estate which is being officially launched later on Tuesday. Located at Marina South, close to anchorages, it is designed to encourage testing and trailing of drone delivery to vessels located offshore.

Listen to the recent edition of the Maritime Podcast with Claus Nehmzow, Chief Innovation Officer, Eastern Pacific Shipping talking about their maritime accelerator in Singapore:

Singapore also aims to enhance and grow collaborations with local and international partners, from both within the maritime industry and other sectors.

“To speed up the pace of innovation, we have to look deep within our own sector to understand the key challenges and constraints, and recognise that the solutions can come from both internal and external sources,” Minister Chee said.

On this front locally MPA signed the 4th Memorandum of Understanding with PSA on the Port Technology R&D programme.

On the international front, MPA will extend the Memorandum of Understanding with the Research Council of Norway (RCN) for an 8th term.

Meanwhile the digitalOCEANS project sees MPA, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) and six other MoU signatories coming together on a project which Minister Chee said, “Will facilitate seamless ship-to-port connectivity through effective and harmonised information exchange between ports and ships.”

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