SINGAPORE: The maritime industry will need to go digital and invest in innovation to keep up with the competition, an international committee has said in its recommendations to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
The International Maritime Centre 2030 (IMC 2030) Advisory Committee has come up with a report containing recommendations to guide the future development of Singapore as an international maritime centre and identify new growth opportunities.
The report includes insights and feedback from 22 industry leaders that make up the IMC 2030 Advisory Committee – from shipping and maritime services, to other fields such as logistics, trading, banking and infocomms technology.
The committee proposed that the Government play a bigger role to increase the awareness of the benefits of digitalisation in the maritime industry – for example by better promoting industry grant schemes for digitalisation.
Although digital solutions like data analytics and smart sensors have helped the ship management sector become more efficient in areas like global fleet monitoring and bunker fuel optimisation, digital investments by maritime companies have continued to remain low, the report noted.
Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Transport Dr Lam Pin Min said the Government will study the recommendations and work with the industry to implement them.
Speaking at the 32nd anniversary gala dinner of the Singapore Shipping Association, Dr Lam said the industry continues to face headwinds: “Structural overcapacity remains, and ship owners are still struggling to keep up charter rates, while maritime companies are trying their best to stay competitive.”
He stressed that companies that focus merely on controlling costs to ride these tides may only address near-term challenges.
OTHER KEY RECOMMENDATIONS
The committee outlined four other key strategies to enhance the vibrancy and competitiveness of Singapore as a hub port and international maritime centre:
- Expand and deepen the maritime cluster;
- Strengthen inter-linkages and network effects;
- Develop a multi-skilled maritime workforce with a global mindset; and
- Establish Singapore as a global maritime standard bearer
It recommended expanding the maritime cluster by continuing to grow the number of shipping players by increasing the sources of financing.
The committee also proposed strengthening inter-linkages with other international maritime clusters and developing a multi-skilled maritime workforce by ramping up the quality of maritime education and training.
More is being done to prepare firms for a future whereby digitalisation will disrupt and transform global transportation and supply chains, and equip the local maritime workforce with the required skills to take on higher value-added jobs, Dr Lam said.
For instance, MPA will provide co-funding for companies to train their staff in areas such as infocomm technology and data analytics through its Maritime Cluster Fund.
“We will also need to make smart investments in emerging technologies, so that we are ready for a world that is drastically different from today,” Dr Lam said.
“Automated control systems on board ships may soon advance to autonomous systems, transforming the nature of shipping as we know it today. Increased digitalisation will enable seamless real-time data sharing, and can significantly improve operational efficiencies for all entities in the logistics value chain.”
MPA is spearheading the sea transport industry transformation map with industry stakeholders and it expects to launch the roadmap early next year, it said.