OPENING ADDRESS BY MS QUAH LEY HOON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE AT THE 2019 NAUTICAL INSTITUTE SINGAPORE CONFERENCE, WEDNESDAY 15 MAY 2019, 9.00 AM, SUNTEC SINGAPORE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE

15 May 2019


Capt Nick Nash, President of The Nautical Institute,


Capt Venkat Padbmanabhan, President of the Singapore Branch of The Nautical Institute,


Members of The Nautical Institute,


Distinguished guests,


Good morning.


It is a pleasure to be here in the company of experienced maritime professionals; some are familiar faces.  It is also an honour that your Institute is conferring Capt Segar into your ranks as an Honorary Fellow of The Nautical Institute.  I am sure that he will do his best to contribute meaningfully to this prestigious body.

2. Your theme of “Dealing with Tomorrow’s Challenges Today” is timely.  The maritime industry is experiencing rapid changes and disruption –regulations, technologies, evolving cargo and crew issues. Left alone, they are challenges.  But if we stay ahead of the curve, they can turn to unique opportunities.

3. Please allow me today to highlight three such challenges / opportunities that MPA is looking at, two of which I understand will be further discussed by the different panels later.  They are new requirements, technology and talent.

IMO 2020 Fuel Oil Sulphur Limit regulations
4. First – on new requirements and legislation.  IMO has taken the lead to position the shipping industry in view of our environmental challenges.  It is now up to countries and industries to adapt.  In the coming years to come, for our future generations –– we need to raise the energy efficiency of ships, decarbonise and reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, and more immediately, lower sulphur emissions starting from 1st January 2020.

5. Specifically on IMO 2020 low sulphur fuel cap, I have been asked if Singapore is prepared.  MPA has been consulting and working hard with the oil majors and the industry to prepare for this major milestone and transition.  We have published two technical guidance booklets last year (one for SRS ships and another for ships calling at the Port of Singapore) and will be updating them in June this year.  We have also published a list of IMO 2020 compliant fuel suppliers last month and encouraged companies to conduct trials and get their ships ready.

6. Moving forward, MPA and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) will be co-host a Seminar & Engagement Session on IMO 2020 Sulphur Limit on 13 June and another session in November.  We further welcome your views on what more needs to be done for its implementation.  I hope that you will all be able to be there to contribute to the session.

Technological advancements in the maritime industry
7. Second – innovation and technology.  I see what the Industry Revolution 4.0 can bring to the maritime sector.  We expect wide-scale digitalisation and innovation in the maritime industry in the next few years.  Technology such as automation, artificial intelligence and the application of blockchain will be transforming the way ships as well as ports are operated and managed.  They can improve efficiency, connectivity and perhaps even fundamentally transform the way our industry works.  For example, what will be the impact should additive manufacturing be widely adopted?  Kenneth Lim, MPA’s Chief Technology Officer and Director of Innovation, Technology & Talent Development, will speak more about this at one of the panel discussion.

8. On digitalisation, Singapore is looking at electronic certificates and electronic bills of lading to cut down on paper work and improve efficiencies.  On ships, there are ongoing efforts on E-Navigation that aims to connect marine navigation systems on ships to supporting shore services.  This is something we are work closely with IALA (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities) including the inaugural E-Navigation workshop last month.

9. On innovation, MPA launched the Maritime Innovation Lab in April to boost Singapore’s maritime technological capabilities with projects that focus on innovation, partnerships and industry transformation.  This space will create an environment that enables experimentation, risk-taking and test-bedding of innovative port services and intelligent ship operations as we prepare for our next generation port in Tuas.  This will include:
a) Next Generation Vessel Traffic Management System to develop new vessel traffic management capabilities;
b) Remotely Assisted Pilotage Advisory by shore-based marine pilots; and
c) Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) projects with industry players to develop and validate navigation intelligence for autonomous ocean-going vessel operations.

Nurturing skilled maritime professionals
10. Third, humans – you and I.  We want more in the maritime industry, including those who are multi-disciplined.  Singapore’s maritime industry contributes about 7% of Singapore’s GDP, we have more than 5,000 maritime establishments in Singapore.  Working in Singapore’s maritime sector is working in the heart of the world.

11. We are working on a few fronts to appeal to the younger generations to join the industry.  Let me highlight a few that are tailored for crew and seafaring:
(a) SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (SkillsFuture ELP). Sponsoring companies provide fresh polytechnic graduates with a head-start in their career and deepen their skills through facilitated training, in-house structured training and mentorship programmes.  This programme covers seafaring deck officers, marine engineers, and port operations officers.
(b) MPA and various industry members have also created initiatives, such as Achievement Award and Cadet Allowance Reimbursement, under the Tripartite Maritime Manpower Taskforce for Seafarers (TF-Sea) to alleviate training costs for employers and offer study awards to Singaporean seafarers.
(c) MPA, together with the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and partner companies, pledged $8.88 million to extend funding for the Certificate of Competency for Special Limits programmes that will go towards grooming 90 Deck Officers and 90 Marine Engineers to work on board ships.

Concluding remarks
12. To end, I hope The Nautical Institute and MPA can continue to strengthen our partnership to navigate the future – look beyond the challenges, and turn them to opportunities for the maritime industry.  With our collective wisdom and your professional experience, I look forward to working hand in hand with you as we navigate into the future.  So in future conferences, we don’t just talk about “Dealing with Tomorrow’s Challenges Today”, but about “Tapping into Opportunities of the Future”.

13. Thank you and I wish all of you a fruitful conference.