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MPA’s initiatives to enhance maritime’s digitalisation

Singapore holds a spot among the top five biggest registries of ships in the world.

To clinch the title longer, the industry must transform despite challenges in the external environment. Slower economic growth, growing environmental regulations and the changes from a disruptive technological landscape characterise the new normal. However, Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) think the challenges can bring about opportunities also.

“The onset of new technologies such as autonomous systems, Internet of Things, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence open up new opportunities for ships and ports to be more efficient, intelligent and interconnected. Just yesterday we held the pitch day of our Smart Port Challenge 2018 and the various ideas that have surfaced demonstrate the potential uses of many of today’s technologies that are available,” said Mr Tan.

He added, “It has given us many ideas that we can also apply to such areas as how to enhance our Singapore Registry of Ships. I hope all of you will similarly leverage on such platforms as PIER71, our maritime accelerator initiative, to scout for new ideas and innovative solutions.”

Pointing to the Industry Transformation Map, Mr Tan said MPA will draw support from it to support their vision for Singapore to be the Global Maritime Hub for Connectivity, Innovation and Talent. MPA will be focusing on productivity, innovation, internationalisation of local companies, and jobs and skills for those in industry.

Some initiatives MPA has embarked on as part of its digitalisation journey are far from few.

Since December 2017, MPA has begun to issue E-certificates to Singapore-registered ships. Expansion plans will be rolled out in phases. All Singapore-registered ships will receive their E-certs upon issuance of new certificates or renewal of existing certificates. Presently, close to 10 000 E-certs have been issued by MPA to Singapore-registered ships. Recognised Organisations such as ABS, BV, DNV, GL, CCS and ClassNK are issuing statutory E-certs to Singapore-registered ships on MPA’s behalf.

Secondly, drones are used for remote inspection techniques.

“We have published our acceptance criteria for the use of remote inspection techniques for surveys. The use of remote inspection techniques enhances safety as marine surveyors do not need to put themselves in precarious positions on board ships to conduct inspections. More can be done in this regard as the technology improves,” said Mr Tan.

Third, MPA’s Internet-based e-commerce system, MARINET, will see an expansion in its suite of services.

“For example, application for the Singapore Seaman Discharge Book and the Maritime Labour Convention financial security certificates can now be completed on MARINET. To minimise delays in crew signing on board Singapore ships, the Receipt of Acknowledgement will be automatically issued upon application of MPA’s Certificate of Endorsement,” explained Mr Tan.

Additionally, the Authority is looking to embrace and harness new technologies for productivity. In collaboration with stakeholders in the maritime and IT industry, they have completed Proof of Concepts for the use of blockchain for ship registration and Robotic Process Automation for the issuance of crew and ship certificates. Mr Tan says these new technologies will be explored and implemented by the third quarter of 2019.

In time to come, work is in progress for improving processes for online submissions and e-appointments. This is to enhance the experience for customers.

Concluding his last address to the shipping community in this post, Mr Tan said, “Let us work together to ride this digitalisation wave for a more productive, efficient and sustainable future.”

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