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Leveraging innovation to navigate choppy waters
AS a key global maritime player, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) adopts the latest technologies to stay ahead of the curve, and constantly benchmarks itself against other competitors.
To achieve its goals, the organisation has been leveraging the Business Excellence (BE) Framework to provide, among other benefits, a strong emphasis on continuous improvement, innovation and customer focused-services.
MPA has been on the BE journey since 1999, when it attained the Singapore Quality Class (SQC). It has also been certified to the People Developer since 2002, and the Singapore Innovation Class since 2015. Continuing on its path of excellence, it won the Singapore Quality Award (SQA) in 2016 and the Innovation Excellence Award this year.
Set up in 1996 with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre, MPA constantly innovates to keep Singapore's maritime sector, or Maritime Singapore, relevant and competitive. Maritime Singapore is a vital industry that contributes about 7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP), and is home to some 5,000 establishments.
The Port of Singapore is connected to 600 ports in over 120 countries, with a ship arriving or departing the country's waters every two or minutes. The port has been ranked "Best Seaport in Asia" 31 times at the annual Asia Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards. The Republic was also ranked the top international shipping centre in the 2014-2019 editions of the Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Centre Development Index.
FULL STEAM AHEAD
As the maritime industry moves rapidly towards greater digitalisation and environmental regulation, MPA is forging ahead with its transformation journey with a series ongoing innovation initiatives.
For instance, the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map launched in 2018 provides the vision and strategies for transforming the sector.
Key initiatives that have been rolled out include Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ Block71 (PIER71), the Sea Transport Industry Digital Plan, and the Specialist Diploma in Maritime Superintendency.
These measures will help to sharpen industry competitiveness, spur new growth areas, enhance productivity, create future jobs, and encourage local companies to internationalise.
MPA is also working on the next generation port at Tuas, which will be the largest container point in a single location that can cater up to 65m TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent unit (see sidebar).
Furthermore, the organisation is continuing its efforts to foster a vibrant maritime innovation ecosystem. According to MPA, Maritime Singapore is positioned as a living lab for new ideas to be tested and scaled.
For instance, the MPA Living Lab is a co-creation platform consisting of physical and digital spaces to provide an operating environment for technology developers and other industry stakeholders. It will be where innovative solutions will be developed, including the next generation Vessel Traffic Management System and e-navigation. MPA has also mapped out a clear R&D 2030 Roadmap to deepen maritime research and development capabilities such as future fuel and shipping, and grow maritime technology enterprises.
SETTING GLOBAL STANDARDS
MPA's innovations have paved the way for new standards globally. For instance, it is the first port authority to require the use of mass flow meters to deliver bunker in port waters. It is also the first in the maritime arena to establish a maritime data hub as a one-stop repository to promote the development of innovative digital services and applications with industry-wide benefits.
Going forward, MPA will continue to innovate in order to build a vibrant Maritime Singapore ecosystem and a global hub port. As Maritime Singapore operates in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world receiving more than 80,000 vessels per year, MPA will also play its role as a responsible global player and contribute to the global maritime and shipping sector.
In addition, the organisation has been sharing its maritime experience with many developing and developed countries, and is helping to train industry leaders there.
As part of this effort, the MPA Academy was repositioned to be a full-fledged academy in 2014 with a focus on global maritime leadership training.