Building Resilience in a Post-COVID World

02 September 2020

     The 14th edition of the Singapore Maritime Lecture returned in part one of the three-part ‘Maritime Perspectives’ webinar series[1]. Over 420 industry leaders and participants from 22 countries tuned in to the webinar.

2     In a keynote address titled “Down But Not Out: Resilience in a Post-COVID World”, distinguished speaker, Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, shared insights on changes to trade patterns and supply chains accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of Asia’s middle class and e-commerce.

3     To overcome present challenges and seize new opportunities in a post-COVID-19 world, Mr Menon stressed the importance of developing ‘resilient supply chains’ that are diverse, flexible and integrated; growing a ‘resilient industry’ through digitalisation; building a ‘resilient workforce’ in the face of technological changes; and driving sustainability in the industry to foster a ‘resilient planet’.

4     In the panel discussion segment of the webinar, Mr Wan Chee Foong (Regional CEO of Middle East South Asia & Head of Group Business Development, PSA International) and Mr Steve Saxon (Expert Partner, McKinsey) joined Mr Menon to share their thoughts on exploiting new opportunities and transforming the industry to build resilience for the future.

5     Mr Menon highlighted the importance of end-to-end digitalisation in overcoming inefficiencies and enhancing productivity along the value chain. He emphasised the need for system integration and interoperability throughout a supply chain when going ‘digital to the core’.

6     While discussing workforce transformation, Mr Wan noted that the pandemic has boosted workplace openness to reforms and created a mindset shift on disruption and the need for collaboration amongst players in the logistics and port ecosystem. He added that reskilling the workforce helps to raise the digital quotient of employees, enable workers to take on high-value jobs and reduce the digital divide between businesses and customers.

7     In addition, Mr Saxon encouraged maritime companies to strike partnerships with start-ups and internet players while developing digital business units to attract talents and enhance digital skills in the maritime workforce. He shared that collaboration is the key to remove inefficiencies in the global supply chain.


MPA-DBS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Digitalisation of Financial Services and Payment Transactions in the Maritime Sector

8     Witnessed by Mr Menon, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) also signed an MoU with DBS Bank to drive the digitalisation and innovation of financial services and payment transactions across Singapore’s maritime industry.

9     In the MoU, MPA and DBS identified areas of collaboration that include streamlining and enabling payment transactions amongst users of maritime services to expedite end-to-end payment life cycles. In addition to digitalising supporting documents for financing, MPA and DBS will also facilitate innovation and co-development of financial solutions for the sector with the maritime start-up ecosystem.

10    Ms Tan Beng Tee, Assistant Chief Executive (Development) of MPA, said, “This partnership between MPA and DBS is timely as the maritime industry accelerates digitalisation for a post-COVID-19 economy. Our collaborative efforts to trial digital solutions for financial services and payment transactions will enhance efficiency in business transactions and improve cash flow particularly for our maritime SMEs. A digitally enabled Maritime Singapore will strengthen the competitiveness of our hub port and International Maritime Centre, allowing Singapore to remain an important sea transport hub that is ready to serve the needs of global trade.”

11    Ms Tan Su Shan, Head of Institutional Banking of DBS Bank, said, “Singapore has established itself as one of the world’s leading hub ports underpinned by several factors, including our strategic location, stable and secure business environment and a highly-trained workforce. To further reinforce our leadership, DBS is pleased to partner with the Maritime Port Authority in progressing Singapore’s digital maritime roadmap. The MoU is significant as it shows our collective commitment to optimise efforts and resources to co-create and implement innovative digital solutions to unlock efficiencies, strengthen the resilience of our maritime sector which forms the backbone of our trade ecosystem, as well as reinforce Singapore’s position as a leading International Maritime Centre. This is more important now than ever as COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to see the gaps in our supply chains, and it is imperative to harness the digital infrastructure we have in Singapore to build back better and stronger.”

[1] For more details on the ‘Maritime Perspectives’ webinar series, please visit https://www.mpa.gov.sg/web/portal/home/maritime-singapore/what-maritime-singapore-offers/maritime-perspectives-webinar-series.

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You may wish to catch the video recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/93TWhRjcm5c.