Greater Support for Maritime Technology Start-Ups and Digitalisation Push for Maritime Trade and Bunkering Services
A new Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund grant scheme will provide maritime technology start-ups in Singapore a leg-up to develop scalable solutions. In addition, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will push for wider industry adoption of digitalisation initiatives such as electronic bills of lading (eBL) and electronic bunker delivery note (eBDN) to drive productivity for the sector. These were announced today by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport, at the 5th Singapore Maritime Technology Conference (SMTC). The SMTC is one of the key events organised in the Singapore Maritime Week 2021.
DEVELOPING A VIBRANT AND CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR START-UPS
To support Singapore’s ambition to be the top maritime start-up hub in the world, MPA has set aside $10 million from the Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund to support the growth and development of maritime technology start-ups in Singapore. Under this expanded effort, MPA will also develop a digital technology marketplace and a start-up playbook. The marketplace will connect maritime and venture capital companies with start-ups and facilitate discovery of solutions. The start-up playbook serves as a comprehensive guide for start-ups to springboard into Singapore tapping on schemes and support programmes relating to talent, capital and R&D resources.
MPA will introduce a new grant scheme called MINT-STARTUP. Start-ups that have completed the PIER71 or relevant maritime acceleration programmes in Singapore can apply for a grant of up to S$50,000 to pilot their projects. Promising start-ups looking to scale up their offerings or projects can also apply for a project grant of up to S$100,000.
DIGITALISING BUSINESS-TO-GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS BUNKERING REPORTING PROCESSES
To raise productivity and instil greater confidence in Singapore’s bunkering industry, MPA also launched a digitalisation plan for the bunkering sector that covers:
• Development of [email protected] by MPA, a secure system for bunker companies to automate data submission for regulatory reporting purposes. When implemented, the system is expected to save an estimated 1,400 man-days annually for the sector.
• MPA will launch a call-for-proposal (CFP) to partner the industry in projects to digitalise the bunker purchase and delivery process as well as documentations such as bunker delivery note. An end-to-end and highly digitalised workflow across multiple stakeholders including customers and financial institutions will improve efficiency and transparency of the bunkering supply chain.
PUSH FOR WIDER INDUSTRY ADOPTION OF EBLs GAINING MOMENTUM
MPA announced the successful completion of an eBL trial which demonstrated the interoperability between different digital trade platforms. In January 2021, Singapore and the Netherlands completed a shipment where an eBL “shadowed” a live shipment from Qui Nhon, Vietnam to Rotterdam, the Netherlands via transhipment in Singapore.
The trial showed that there were significant time savings in the BL documentation process from an average of six to ten days when using a hardcopy to less than 24 hours when using an eBL. This successful trial also marks one of the first title transfer, across different digital platforms, which was facilitated by TradeTrust, an open-standard digital utility to enable interoperability.
To catalyse adoption of eBLs, MPA is issuing a CFP to develop and pilot eBL solutions that are based on open standards and meeting the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) framework. Bringing together industry partners and solution providers, the projects must be able to demonstrate benefits such as manpower savings and lowered fraud risk in commercial use cases. The Infocomm Media Development Authority and the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) will be supporting this call.
Sea News Feature, April 20