28 September 2017

Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport & Ministry of Health,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening and a very warm welcome.

In June this year, we launched the Smart Port Challenge 2017, and I’m pleased to see so many innovative proposals put forth. Since then, we have received a total of 81 proposals from start-ups of which 61 of them were shortlisted. Through a series of evaluations by MPA and our co-creators, 29 start-ups were selected. Eventually, 12 high potential start-ups have been selected for even further development through mentorships with our selected partners.

2. MPA’s Smart Port Challenge 2017, SPC 2017 in short, was conceived to provide new opportunities for start-ups in the maritime sector to address challenges faced while leveraging digital technologies such as IoT, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

3. In the process, we will encourage further collaboration between organisations and start-ups as well as provide test-bedding opportunities with our industry partners. We then hope to take these new ideas further, and translate them into commercial solutions.

4. From the presentations, it is clear that the start-ups and various co-creators have worked very hard in the past few months to identify possible technological solutions to tackle the challenge statements through the use of new technologies.  

5. Let me highlight some of them: 

  1. One interesting idea is the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality to enhance training for stevedores and ship crew by mimicking different environment and weather conditions which would have been difficult to replicate in real life, allowing them to practice crucial scenarios in virtual reality.

  2. Another interesting idea is the development of an intelligent chatbot with machine learning capability. We understand that Batam Fast, a ferry operator, receives hundreds of phone enquiries a day, but with the use of an intelligent chatbot, it would be able to handle any scenario of a conversation with ease, performing the role of a customer service officer adept to answering queries, recommend travel itineraries and even handle the booking of ferry schedules. 

  3. We’ve also been hearing a lot about blockchain and how it would be quickly adopted in the shipping industry. Currently, there are hundreds of documentations in the supply chain, incurring hours of manpower. With blockchain, this can be reduced to just one single, unified digital transaction flow as shipping documents in the sea transport logistics supply chain are digitised. 

  4. We can also witness the use of video analytics with artificial intelligence capabilities to enhance safety and security standards within the port. Tracking technologies like this can help terminal operators monitor the compliance of safety for operational staff and reduce unauthorized intrusion into dangerous or prohibited port areas.

  5. Another prototype also explores the use of sensors to monitor ship equipment and performance and to predict future maintenance schedules. Ship equipment such as engines are often subject to harsh conditions and long usage hours, which leads to irregular breakdowns. With the use of sensors, we can easily predict when maintenance is required and this will greatly minimise the downtime of ships.

  6. The last idea I will share with you is the development of an e-bunker marketplace, well-suited for Singapore as the largest bunkering port in the world. This marketplace is a digital platform which would aim to combine all sellers and buyers, and hence take care of background checks and credit ratings to essentially make the market more transparent in its practices. 

6. You can see how the next couple of months will be exciting for everyone.

7. After today’s event, we will be taking a closer look at all the finalists’ proposals with our co-creator industry partners to select start-ups for funding awards of up to $50,000 each. These start-ups will then continue to build a full prototype for test-bedding over the next six months. Funding through the MPA MINT Fund is also available for proposals that require further research and development.

8. MPA will continue to organise future editions of Smart Port Challenge and collaborate with industry players and start-up accelerators, such as venture capitalists, to serve as the lead demand driver for start-ups in the maritime industry. We are also working with suitable partners to secure a dedicated space for start-ups. Further details will be announced in due course.

9. In closing, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all our co-creators from the industry – 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, for sharing with us your knowledge and giving us your commitment. 

10. I would also like to thank all the judges who volunteered their time for SPC 2017:
  • Mr Steen Brodsgaard Lund, Councillor of SSA;
  • Mr Abhinav Goswami, Vice President Investments of SBI Venture Capital;
  • Mr Vicknesh R Pillay, Managing Partner of TNB Ventures; and
  • Mr Kenneth Lim, Chief Technology Officer of MPA.
11. To the Singapore Shipping Association, thank you for your support throughout the SPC 2017 journey. 

12. Last but not least, to the SPC 2017 participants for your interesting ideas and effort. 

13. With this, I wish all the teams and participants many fruitful collaborations across the maritime domain. All the best for the results!