Singapore’s innovation drive

The Lion Republic is at the forefront of digital trials set to transform maritime as delegates attending today’s Asia Pacific Maritime exhibition at Marina Bay Sands are likely to find out.

Across many Singapore bodies, institutions and companies there is a drive to develop digital solutions for shipping. Indeed, for Esben Poulsson, the president of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), only Norway and Denmark can match the Southeast Asian nation for their maritime digital developments.

Over at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) much resources have gone into a living lab, while the authority is trialling many novel solutions to simplify day-to-day shipping operations such as e-certificates and

At a conference in Singapore last November, MPA’s chief executive Andrew Tan said: “IoT, digitalisation and new technologies such as blockchain and smart drones are changing the way we work. To stay ahead, the Singapore Registry of Ships needs to embrace these technologies to offer value-added services to its customer.”

The digital lead Singapore is building is drawing in companies to relocate. Wilhelmsen Ship Management, for instance, has recently decided to shift headquarters from neighbouring Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, in no small part down to Singapore’s digital dominance.

“Singapore is an established maritime hub, and a driver of digital innovation that will play a significant part in the company’s ongoing transformation,” a statement from the company read.

Few local shipping lines have mapped out a more clear digital future than the republic’s last homegrown containerline, Pacific International Lines (PIL). In February PIL, along with terminal operator PSA International and IBM, successfully carried out a blockchain trial to track and trace cargo movement from Chongqing to Singapore via the Southern Transport Corridor – a key route in China’s Belt and Road initiative.

The partners believe that there is now sufficient evidence to show that the concept can be taken to the next stage. The scope of the blockchain platform will be widened and the partners are eager to engage more participants from across the supply chain.

SS Teo, managing director of PIL, said, “We are highly committed to this idea because we as a company believe the wider application of blockchain across the global logistics and shipping businesses will lead to much greater operating efficiencies, security and transparency. It is the future for our industry.”

This article first appeared in the just published latest issue of Maritime CEO magazine. Splash readers can access the full magazine for free by clicking here.

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