Top innovations for the maritime sector

Meet the winners of the 2018 Smart Port Challenge

17 finalists pitched their innovative solutions for the maritime industry at the 2018 Smart Port Challenge Pitch Day on 28 November, an industry-wide initiative under PIER71 (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined at BLOCK71) that seeks to build a vibrant maritime entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in Singapore.

Winners of the 2018 Smart Port Challenge (Photo © Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)

Co-organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), NUS Enterprise and TNB Ventures, and supported by the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), the second edition of the Smart Port Challenge (SPC) brought together maritime companies with technology start-ups and innovators to work on key issues faced by the maritime sector. A total of 122 proposals were received in response to 20 challenge statements identified by maritime companies in the areas of port operations, shipping and maritime services. 17 start-ups with innovative technologies were shortlisted by MPA, NUS Enterprise and maritime companies involved. These start-ups went through PIER71 Accelerate, an eight-week market and business model validation programme where they learnt about the maritime sector, focusing on areas such as customer discovery, competitive analysis and prototype development.

Congratulations to the three winners!

Top Prize: Ocean Freight Exchange (S$10,000 cash prize)

Currently the scheduling for the delivery of bunkers is done manually, which is not only inefficient, but can be unproductive should an inexperienced scheduler be assigned. Ocean Freight Exchange has developed a web-based scheduler system, which takes in all relevant data to produce an optimal schedule for a fleet of bunker tankers. This saves both time and revenue. The system is intelligent enough to advise which delivery requests to accept, which orders to pass on and which ones can be considered if another tanker were added to the fleet. This system reduces errors of manual data entry, while simultaneously enabling secured data flow.

1st Runner-up: SkyLab (S$5,000 cash prize)

SkyLab’s in-house developed data transport accelerator platform (STATM) is able to overcome current limitations of satellite communications whilst at sea in the provision of real-time monitoring and management of plant, equipment, crew’s health, systems and communications. This will empower the large-scale adoption of Industrial IoT in the maritime sector. 
Using data securely ingested by SkyLab’s Multi-Access Edge Computing and processed by its Data Logistics Platforms, shipping companies will gain actionable insights into the state of their ships and crew, whilst ports can leverage on this data to provide timely and value-added services when ships call. Shipping lines will reap operational efficiencies and monetary benefits from faster turnaround at ports of call too.

2nd Runner-up: Claritecs (S$3,000 cash prize)

Singapore is the world’s top bunkering hub, with over 40,700 vessels being refuelled in 2017. Bunker operators need to effectively schedule their bunker fleet, and typically this is done manually. CLARITECS is a maritime solutions company that has developed BunkerMaestro, a SaaS platform based on maritime expertise and AI algorithms that provides decision-makers in shipping operations with scheduling clarity. This reduces unproductive waiting time for vessels requiring refuelling. BunkerMaestro also provides a Mass Flowmeter bunker data analysis plug-in tool for further diagnostics of bunkering data. To date, 8 operators have volunteered to pilot this project with CLARITECS under the PIER71 programme.


Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, giving the Opening Address for the 2018 Smart Port Challenge (Photo © Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)

“MPA started the SPC in 2017 as part of our wider efforts to promote innovation and catalyse collaborations in the maritime sector. With the formation of PIER71 with NUS Enterprise this year, SPC returned stronger with a 45% increase in proposal submissions as compared with last year. We are pleased to see many innovative prototypes and will continue to provide opportunities for start-ups as we embrace new technologies, such as Virtual Reality, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, that are transforming the maritime sector,” said Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA.

“Strengthening Singapore’s maritime innovation ecosystem will help to develop the talent, accelerate new ventures and attract investments into the sector. This will play a crucial role in bringing Singapore’s maritime industry into the digital age and create exciting opportunities for growth,” said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye.

Beyond SPC 2018, MPA and NUS Enterprise will continue to provide a range of resources to support the 17 shortlisted SPC start-ups in working with maritime companies to progress into the prototype development phase. These resources offer access to funding, international markets, innovative technologies and maritime expertise.

The 17 finalists of the 2018 Smart Port Challenge. The event was graced by Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health [back row, centre]. (Photo © Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)

About PIER71

Founded by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), through its entrepreneurial arm, NUS Enterprise, PIER71 (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined at BLOCK71) aims to grow Singapore’s maritime innovation ecosystem. PIER71 boosts innovation in the maritime and maritime-related industries by attracting talents, creating opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, attracting investments into start-ups and accelerating ventures. PIER71 designs and delivers programmes to uncover opportunities within the industry and supports entrepreneurs from ideation to acceleration of their ventures. PIER71 provides access to various markets, demand drivers, technology solution providers, investors and more. PIER71 also represents a budding and increasingly vibrant ecosystem of stakeholders who are keen to digitalise and create the next wave of maritime innovation. Find out more: https://www.pier71.sg