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MPA’s Smart Port Challenge to boost innovation in Singapore’s maritime industry

Nurdianah Md Nur | June 6, 2017
Each selected startup will be provided mentors and seed funding support of up to S$50,000 to develop full prototypes.

cartoon container ship

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is welcoming nearly 190 registered participants from the technology, startup and venture capital (VC) communities to its Smart Port Challenge 2017 (SPC 2017).

The six-month programme will encourage collaboration between organisations and startups to push digital transformation in Singapore's maritime industry.

According to the MPA, the advent technologies such as the Internet-of-Things (IoT), data analytics and machine learning have created smarter ships. 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 and ways to effectively manage processes so new technology infrastructure can become part of the operational strategy.

SPC 2017 aims to discuss these challenges and translate ideas into commercial solutions. It will have two categories of participants: startups and non-startups.

Participants will provided mentors, who will be identified by industry partners or co-creators. SPC 2017's partners include Batam Fast, CMA CGM, Hong Lam Marine, Jurong Port, Kanlian, NYK Line, Pacific International Lines, Port of Rotterdam, PSA Marine, PSA unboXed, Symphony Creative Solutions and Synergy Marine Group.

Each selected startup will also be provided seed funding support of up to S$50,000 by MPA and PSA unboXed to develop full prototypes, with the possibility of implementation for business operations.

Startups can also look forward to seed funding support from other VCs, while shortlisted non start-ups will be eligible for MPA's Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) funding for test-bedding or product development.

"SPC 2017 will bring together new and existing start-ups to research and develop innovative applications for IT solutions in the maritime sector. [It is] part of our wider industry transformation effort to develop an innovative maritime startup ecosystem to take advantage of the growing applications of automation, ICT and data analytics in the maritime industry," said Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA.  

 "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," he added.

Ooi Boon Hoe, CEO of Jurong Port, said: "The involvement of startups in the new format introduced this year [in SPC 2017] will potentially allow participants to go further beyond ideation and towards a more sustained and successful post-event implementation."

Ong Kim Pong, Regional CEO Southeast Asia of PSA International, added: "We look forward to discovering promising solutions from SPC 2017's talent, and to more opportunities to increase the port's technology quotient through relevant collaborations."


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