SINGAPORE, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The Singaporean government will take new moves to boost the city-state's maritime innovation, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat announced Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the fifth Singapore Maritime Technology Conference.
The measures include introducing a new Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund grant scheme, launching a digitalization plan for the bunkering sector, and issuing a call-for-proposal to develop and pilot electronic bill of lading (eBL) solutions.
Chee said that Singapore aims to attract more technology firms and work with maritime companies.
The country expects to grow the number of Singapore-based maritime technology start-ups from about 30 to 100 by 2025 through PIER71, a joint initiative launched in 2018 between the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore and the National University of Singapore through its entrepreneurial arm, NUS Enterprise. Its mission is to encourage Singapore's maritime industry to accelerate innovation and its adoption and venture into new growth areas through working with technology start-ups.
To support the efforts of PIER71, Chee said that the MPA will set aside 10 million Singapore dollars (7.54 million U.S. dollars) from the Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund to drive the growth and development of maritime technology start-ups in Singapore. Besides, the MPA will set up a new grant scheme called MINT-STARTUP to support both start-ups and scale-ups.
Meanwhile, the senior minister of state announced that Singapore is launching a digitalization plan for the bunker sector, which include developing a new MPA system to save the sector an estimated 1,400 man-days annually, and issuing a call for joint industry projects to digitize the end-to-end bunker purchase and delivery process as well as documentations.
Besides, Chee said that Singapore has successfully completed an eBL trail between Singapore and Rotterdam ports in January this year, which marks a milestone towards the digitalization of the important Europe-Far East Trade route.
To accelerate adoption of eBLs, the MPA will be issuing a call-for-proposal to bring together industry players and solution providers to develop and pilot eBL solutions leveraging recent technology and legislation developments.
The Singapore Maritime Technology Conference is one of the key events organized in the Singapore Maritime Week 2021.