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Singapore ramps up R&D for smarter, greener maritime future

ACADEMICS, government agencies and major industry players are teaming up to build capabilities aligned with a smarter and greener future for Maritime Singapore under three new initiatives.

The seventh Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) Forum held on Tuesday witnessed the launch of a new research centre dedicated to develop sustainable energy and maritime solutions and two other agreements related to digitalisation and green shipping.

Nanyang Technology University (NTU) and SMI have jointly established the new S$15 million Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development centre (MESD) of excellence.

SMI will pump up to S$10 million to fund the new centre, which will also tap S$4 million in contribution from NTU and another S$1 million from NTU's industry partners.

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To be operational by the end of 2017, MESD will focus on future port and shipping applications in three key areas - energy management, emissions management and sustainable maritime operations.

NTU has also separately inked a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Jurong Port to jointly pursue research and development (R&D) in areas such as Smart Multi Energy Management Systems, Alternative Energy Source Applications and Environmental Monitoring Solutions.

This partnership forms the inaugural component of Jurong Port's Living Lab programme to test-bed solutions for its journey towards a "Next Generation Multipurpose Port".

Jurong Port's Living Lab will join two other similar initiatives mooted by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and PSA to help drive transformation of the maritime sector.

A second MOU signed at SMI Forum between MPA (Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore) and Shell Eastern Trading (Pte) Ltd will see the two parties cooperating to promote research and innovation in areas such as clean fuel technology, remote or autonomous technology and digitalisation.

MPA's chief executive, Andrew Tan said: "Singapore will continue to invest in future capabilities to build up a strong maritime cluster to generate good employment opportunities and stay ahead of the competition."

Lam Khin Yong, NTU's acting provost, chief of staff and vice-president for research, said: " This partnership will see the development of greener solutions for the shipping industry so as to cut down emissions for a more sustainable maritime industry. It will also groom future maritime researchers who will continue to push the boundaries of innovation."

Executive director of SMI, Toh Ah Cheong, said: "We are pleased to support the establishment of the MESD Centre of Excellence to further deepen NTU's capability and collaboration with the industry in maritime energy research."