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Start-ups pitch digital solutions for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Smart Port Challenge 2017

Above photo: Finalists of Smart Port Challenge 2017 with Dr. Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport & Ministry of Health and Mr. Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA/ Credit: MPA

Twelve start-ups pitched their maritime-related proof-of-concepts (POC) in response to industry challenge statements on Demo Day of the Smart Port Challenge 2017 (SPC 2017) organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA),

Together with TNB Ventures and MPA’s industry partners, MPA launched SPC 2017 in June 2017, inviting start-ups to submit proposals to address a series of challenges faced in the maritime industry, harnessing the power of digital technologies, in areas such as Internet-Of-Things, Blockchain, Automation, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

MPA’s SPC 2017 partners include 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.

A total of 81 proposals were received, and proposals from 61 startups were shortlisted for a round of workshops. These workshops provided a platform for start-ups to understand more about business opportunities in the maritime industry as well as seek feedback from MPA’s industry partners on their proposals. After another round of deliberation, MPA further shortlisted another 29 start-ups.

A final of 12 start-ups were subsequently selected to further develop POCs which were pitched on Demo Day to a panel of judges that consisted of maritime industry experts and leaders.

Technologies used in these POCs included the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/ VR) to simulate safe and realistic training in a port environment for quay crane operations and container lashings, an intelligent chatbot with machine learning capability to enhance customer service for ferry customers, and the application of blockchain to digitise shipping documents in the sea transport logistics supply chain.

The winner received S$5,000 in cash. Second and third prizes worth S$3,000 and S$2,000 were also awarded respectively. Three prizes of 'Honourable Mention' were also given out.

The winner was Gleematic, tackling the challenge of using automation to help ships meet regulatory clearance, set by NYK Line & Symphony Creative Solutions. Currently there are too many documents required for clearing ships to enter various ports which leads to longer lead times and can even increase operational expenses as ships may need to wait several days before it can enter the port and a semi-automated software could complete these various forms and meet the clearances for the ships.

The 2nd prize went to T-Mining for developing POC to increase visibility of the maritime logistic supply chain data from ships, cargo and containers to improve efficiency of global operations (set by CMA CGA). With a complex system in place to manage the arrival of vessels, logistical resources to coordinate the cargo movement of the cargo, as well as the communications between all parties involved, there is a need for automation to help resolve inefficiencies.

XjeraLabs addressed the challenge of ensuring the safety of Port Users in an automated and heavily industrial environment, from PSA Unboxed. Currently, there is currently no effective method to track workers on ships or throughout the port environment. Asset / manpower tracking technologies could be explored for improving safety standards, collecting data from the various data work process data points to build up machine learning / AI capabilities in the future.

The basic workable prototypes can be further developed beyond the event. Moving forward, these 12 start-ups from Demo Day will be eligible to apply for funding support of up to S$50,000 to develop fully functional solutions with opportunities to test-bed their product with MPA’s industry partners. They can also look forward to funding support from other venture capitalists or apply for MPA’s Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) fund to further their research and development of the project.

Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “SPC 2017 is part of MPA’s wider efforts to promote innovation in the maritime sector. The various prototypes demonstrate how we can leverage novel technologies for practical applications in the industry, helping to improve productivity, streamline operations, and save costs. Through such platforms, we hope to attract more start-ups to the maritime sector in future runs. We will also be exploring potential collaboration with other accelerator programmes to give our efforts a boost.”

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