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On 4 June 2020, MPA and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), launched its 4th Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2020.
The project invited technology start-ups to submit proposals based on any of the 17 innovation opportunities that have been curated in collaboration with 15 maritime corporates and other partners in 2020. To support Maritime Singapore’s long-term sustainability goals, an innovation opportunity focusing on maritime decarbonisation was featured for the  rst time.
Start-ups participating in this year’s challenge will have direct access to PIER71 Venture Capital (VC) partner network for investment advice and opportunities. PIER71 VC partners include Bernhard Schulte INNOPORT, PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH), Paci c Carriers Limited (PCL), PSA unboXed and TNB Aura.
As the shipping industry grapples with COVID-19, many companies are already repositioning themselves for the new normal. There are opportunities for greater digitalisation, automation and adoption of new technology.
Together with Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), MPA launched the Maritime Innovation & Technology (MINT) Fund Call for Joint/Collaborative Industry Projects (JIP) on 26 May 2020, to build greater post- COVID resilience. The initiative encourages maritime stakeholders, technology community and adjacent sectors to collaborate and address the challenges that the pandemic has brought on the disrupted global supply chain, as well as affected operations and services within the maritime sector. The proposals could include the use of technologies such as AI, cloud, robotics, wearables, and smart/remote technology to minimise human contacts.
In Singapore’s maritime ecosystem, there is a greater urgency to push the boundaries on the concept of operations for port and shipping. PSA, Jurong Port and MPA have established the Maritime Living Lab. It welcomes more collaborations to allow real life experimentations of technologies.
Collectively, the living labs allow physical testbed areas to be carried out at designated anchorages to facilitate the trials of technology development such as drones, autonomous ships, and communication technologies. MPA also conducted virtual testbed areas where innovative
projects such as remote pilotage, next generation vessel traf c management, and maritime data hubs are housed and experimented.
To support maritime companies in accelerating their digitalisation plans as the economy reboots and enters a new normal post COVID-19, a Maritime Digitalisation Playbook (MDP), co-developed by MPA, the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) was rolled out on 19 June 2020.
Speaking to maritime companies at the “Accelerating Digitalisation, Building Resilience” webinar, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health, Dr Lam Pin Min said, “This pandemic has accelerated digitalisation, regardless whether you are a multinational company or a local SME. The Playbook will serve as a guide to help maritime companies uncover opportunities in digital transformation.”
Drawing upon insights gleaned from the Digitalisation Acceleration Index*, MDP was curated to help maritime companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in maritime subsectors such as shipping, ship management, ship agency and harbourcraft, to understand the digital gaps in their business and learn how they can use technologies or tap on various government schemes to support their digitalisation efforts. Together with the Industry Digital Plan (IDP) launched earlier in April 2019, which is part of the SME Go Digital programme, MDP provides a wider range of digital solutions covering port clearances and services, trade documentation and trade operations and  nancing, to enable the maritime ecosystem to improve competitiveness and productivity.
* Digital Acceleration Index is a research collaboration between the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Boston Consultation Group (BCG) that aims to help companies understand where they stand in their digital transformation journey.

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