Singapore’s Jurong Port has teamed up with advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure developer and drone operator Skyports to explore the development of ship-to-shore infrastructure.
The deal is said to be a significant milestone for developing large-scale drone delivery operations in Singapore. It expands on Skyports’ ongoing work in the country’s maritime sector. It will draw on the drone operator’s experience in building take-off and landing infrastructure for cargo drone deliveries to explore how drone delivery technology can be integrated into the existing logistics and cargo operations of Singapore’s Jurong Port.
Yun-Yuan Tay, head of Asia Pacific, Skyports said: “Tremendous progress has been made in the arena of maritime drone delivery services over the past year, and infrastructure development is the next critical step to truly realising the vast opportunities afforded by large-scale drone delivery services.”
Over the next year, Skyports and Jurong Port will commence joint studies to determine the feasibility and development of plans for cargo drone delivery operations and related infrastructure. The trials will be carried out simultaneously with ongoing port operations. At the same time, Skyports will lead in the engagements with relevant public sector organisations, regulators, and private entities to further the development of critical regulatory frameworks for the deployment of large-scale cargo drone delivery services.
Walter Lin, assistant vice president of breakbulk and lighters business units at Jurong Port said: “Drone delivery technology has demonstrated its ability to enhance the maritime industry’s processes, and the development of its supporting infrastructure will be crucial in transforming the future of maritime logistics and shipping. As one of the world’s busiest anchorages, Jurong Port is constantly looking out for solutions that will benefit the shipping and maritime industry. We believe that drone delivery technology will play an integral role in the evolution of our next-generation port.”
Ng Yi Han, director (Innovation, Technology and Talent Development), Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore added: “Drone delivery will bring about faster delivery times, higher labour productivity and reduced emissions. We look forward to supporting our partners as the maritime industry continues to leverage technology innovation to strengthen its efficiency and resilience.”
Jurong Port handles bulk, break-bulk and containerised cargo, and manages tens of thousands of vessel calls annually in Singapore’s sole multipurpose port.
Singapore has been trialing drone deliveries for quite some time. In 2020, F-drones was the first company in Singapore to receive an authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone deliveries to ships in Singapore, with Eastern Pacific Shipping as its first paying customer. The company recently teamed up with fellow offshore vessel owner and operator Marco Polo Marine to co-develop what are claimed to be the world’s first large-scale, electric aerial delivery drones for offshore wind farms.