28 June 2019

Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health,
HE Dorte Bech Vizard, Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

       Good morning and a warm welcome to all. I would like to specially thank SMS Dr Lam for his presence and support as our guest of honour. I understand that this is your third time launching the Smart Port Challenge (SPC) and with each launch, the number of entries have increased – from 81 in 2017 to 122 in 2018. 

2     This increase in the number and interest in the SPC is exciting for us at MPA and at Maritime Singapore. Because this is a good platform for us to learn from you, the start-ups and get fresh ideas, to see how we can adapt them for the maritime industry.

3     And indeed the maritime industry is a very crucial industry for the world. Shipping moves 90% of global trade – our food, mobile devices, the clothes we wear. In Singapore, the industry contributes around 7 per cent of Singapore’s GDP and employs over 150,000 people.

4     I would like to share two shifts in the global maritime industry that I am seeing which can then set the context for you as you go about coming up with innovative solutions for our industry. First, it is clear to me that this industry is ripe for transformation. We are witnessing efforts to use blockchain technology, harnessing big data, decarbonisation technologies such as batteries and hydrogen fuel, and making ships smarter and more automated.

5     Secondly, we are witnessing geopolitical shifts. We are seeing and will expect more changes in the global supply chain and trade patterns. This will result in shipping companies having to respond and route adjustments will arise. This may bring uncertainty to our industry, with uncertainty comes risk, but uncertainty will also bring about new opportunities.

2     This is why MPA, together with NUS Enterprise, presents this challenge to all of you today. We believe there are wins to be unlocked with efficiency gains, new growth areas, new business models and better use of data. This is a call out to the start-up community. We want your innovative proposals to solve impactful industry challenges.

3     Here is one successful example from this challenge: BatamFast, a local ferry operator, had faced challenges on the visibility of their ferries’ location and movement. Due to the manual reporting processes, the crew were also unable to report vessel activities promptly and accurately. With the implementation of the pilot project by Brightree on two of their ferries, BatamFast is now able to track the location of the two ferries in real time. The crew is now able to submit their reports digitally as well. BatamFast is now also using data analytics to monitor their ferries performance.

Deepening Partnerships

4     Starting this year, PIER71 will join the Startup SG community, a national start-up platform setup by Enterprise Singapore. On top of the $50,000 grant support from MPA, participating tech start-ups will also be able to leverage on Startup SG’s comprehensive suite of support so we can deepen the support and help you scale up faster.

5     On the international front, PIER71 will be working with a network of like-minded global partners, such as Katapult Ocean, Rainmaking Innovation, TNB Ventures, and Symphony Creative Solutions to reach out to the start-ups in the region and beyond. It will be exciting to bring together all the top start-ups from all around the world to take a shot at Pitch Day.

6     I am pleased to share that Rainmaking Innovation will be setting up their Transport Venture Studio in Singapore. Rainmaking Innovation will also be launching an impact programme focusing on decarbonisation in the second half of 2019, with an aim to build high potential maritime tech start-ups. I will not steal the limelight from Mr Michael Pomerleau as he will share more about this later.

Maritime Mentors Network

7     To support PIER71, MPA will be setting up the Maritime Mentors Network. Start-ups will be able to get access to mentors who are maritime industry experts and tap into their extensive experience and connections to the maritime industry.

8     We will be on the look out to pair you with good mentors. I know that their wealth of knowledge and connections will be critical in growing the next generation of maritime companies and talents.


9     To end, I thank NUS Enterprise for partnering with us to transform Maritime Singapore.

10   To the companies participating in the Smart Port Challenge – thank you for your commitment to this year’s innovation opportunities. Seize the opportunity to take part in the PIER71 programme. Try-fast, fail-fast, learn-fast and to try again. Thank you.