As one of the most important ports in the world, the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore continues to lead the way forward for the industry.
Assistant Chief Executive, Mr Kenneth Lim, shared with us some insights about the ongoing projects that the MPA Singapore is currently involved with, as well as its plans to transform the island country into the global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation, and talent by 2030.
With an investment of S$2.42bn ($1.76bn) only in its first phase, completed in November 2021, the ongoing 4-phase infrastructure expansion project is expected to be completed by 2040. The current five terminals, at Tanjong Pagar, Pasir Panjang, Keppel and Brani, will be then consolidated into one mega-terminal at Tuas Port. This mega-port will be able to handle up to 65 million TEUs per annum – 50% more than its current capacity – and will also optimise the deployment of resources for port and marine services by automating wharf-side and yard operations.
While infrastructure expansion is paramount to meet global supply chain demands, Mr Lim has also highlighted two areas where the MPA – and the broader maritime industry by extension – can develop new capabilities and business opportunities: Decarbonisation & Digitalisation, which the MPA is looking to strengthen by means of partnerships with several industry stakeholders.
Amongst its decarbonisation efforts, Singapore is looking to become a world-class bunkering hub that facilitates the energy transition across the industry. In Mr Lim’s views, however, the main challenges for increasing scalability of alternative fuels across the sector is reassuring stakeholders that the supply of these new fuels will be available to meet energetic demands. Therefore, the MPA launched in 2020 the ‘Future Fuel Port Network’ to serve as a collaborative platform to advance decarbonisation of shipping through (1) the adoption of clean marine fuels, and (2) partnering with industry stakeholders, in the hope of developing harmonized for the adoption of alternative fuels.
As for digitalisation, the MPA has capitalized on acceleration of this trend due to the pandemic; yet Mr Lim is aware that the successful digital transformation is not only about new technologies but more about the integration of new digital tools into present port operations. As such, and in partnership with the Singapore Shipping Association, government agencies and other stakeholders, the MPA developed what Mr Lim refers to as a ‘maritime digitalisation playbook’, which aims to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and digital expertise to across the sector. This book, alongside other resources will help industry players to assess their level of digital maturity and, in Mr Lim’s words, make digitalisation easy to implement.
To wrap up the conversation, these decarbonisation and digitalisation efforts are transforming present operational models in ports and terminals. Hence, the required skills and talent are changing as well. As response, the MPA is involved in several initiatives with partners – such as the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA), the Singapore Shipping Association, the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union, etc., to spur local seafarers to attain key milestones in their seafaring training and career progression, as well as facilitating redeployment and reskilling actions across the industry, whenever necessary.
It seems to save to say that, despite being a global industry leader, the MPA Singapore is not relying on its present success but rather continues to look into the future.
If you wish to know more about the future of maritime trade, join us at TOC Asia on 29th & 30th November 2022, where Mr Lim will deliver a keynote speech and will participate in an engaging discussion Mr Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO at PSA International.