Opening remarks by Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore at the closing reception of 2nd Finland-Singapore Maritime Innovation Camp, Regent Singapore
1. Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Ms Ritva Naumanen, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Singapore, distinguished guests and friends from Finland.
2. I am happy to join you today at the closing reception of the Finland-Singapore Maritime Innovation Camp. This camp is a testament of the strong friendship between Finland and Singapore. Indeed, both our countries share many similarities:
o We have a small population of less than 7 million people.
o We both face common challenges of limited resources, declining population and birth rates.
o This is why innovation is key in our DNA. Both our countries were ranked as the top ten most innovative countries under the Global Innovation Index in 2019.
3. With this camp, we have created a –
o Platform to discover “out-of-the-box” solutions. In 2018, the challenge statement was on reducing the stress levels of stevedores working onboard container vessels. This attracted a winning entry of an innovative idea relating to spiders!
o Platform for partnership. This camp is co-organised by the Singapore Maritime Institute and the Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku, and we are able to tap on our strengths of innovation and entrepreneurship to help maritime companies create value.
4. From the first Innovation Camp, MacGregor took one of the UTU participants as an employee, and PSA has continued to further refine and explore the innovative concepts developed by the winning team. This has led to PSA’s partnership with MPA, SMI and the National Research Foundation to launch the Maritime R&D Grant Call on Wharf-side Coning and Vessel-side Lashing for Container Terminal Operations in June 2019.
Importance of maritime collaborations with Finland
5. Finland is a leader in many fronts, and there are many other areas we can collaborate. For example,
o In the maritime field, Finland is a forerunner in maritime autonomous surface ships. You have established the world’s first autonomous maritime ecosystem (One Sea), of which MacGregor is a partner. My team had just gone to Helsinki in November last year to learn more about Finland’s efforts and capabilities in autonomous vessels and vessel electrification. They also visited the Suomenlinna II (Pronounced: Suo-mern-lin-na Two) ferry which – for those who are unfamiliar – is an autonomous ice-class passenger ferry, which is already operational. It has onshore remote monitoring and precise situational awareness for automatic berthing.
o Likewise, Singapore has similarly turned to innovation and technology to transform Maritime Singapore to meet future needs. One of the key initiatives is the development of Tuas Port, which will handle up to 65mil TEUs, the world’s largest fully automated terminal when fully completed in 2040.
6. We are all facing a ‘New Normal’. I call this the 3 ‘D’ trends of Digitalisation, Decarbonisation and Disruption. Internally, this also guides MPA’s priorities for the year.
o Digitalisation will make the maritime industry more efficient, and enhance linkages with other sectors along the supply chain e.g. nexus between trading, financing and shipping.
o Decarbonisation will help contribute to a more sustainable world, and perhaps attract more young talent into the industry.
o Disruption such as 3D printing can be a game changer. Question is if we are ready, to disrupt, rather than be disrupted.
7. It is therefore very important for maritime nations like Finland and Singapore to collaborate and co-innovate to enhance the performance of ports and shipping of the future. This is part of the MOU between SMI and University of Turku, where we encourage deeper collaboration in maritime research especially in common areas of interest.
Need for continued and closer collaborations
8. To conclude, the Finland-Singapore Maritime Innovation Camp is a great opportunity for the exchange of ideas and knowledge to address shared challenges.
9. Continued innovation would of course not be possible without a strong, diverse and sustainable talent pool. We are heartened that the Innovation Camp has attracted a diverse group of students from Finland and Singapore. I understand that 16 participants from 5 institutions in total have participated in this event.
10. What is also encouraging is that the students have come from vastly different fields. This includes Maritime Studies, Engineering, Supply Chain Management, Global Innovation, Mathematics and Business. This diversity is important as the needs of the maritime sector are increasingly complex, and we need different expertise and capabilities to create solutions for the future.
11. Later tonight, we will crown the winning team of the Second Finland-Singapore Maritime Innovation Camp. The participants of this Camp will also receive certificates, in acknowledgment of your passion, creativity and talent. More importantly, I hope that through this Camp, strong friendships have been formed and students will bring back many fond memories and keep in touch to strengthen ties between our two nations.
12. Finally, I want to thank our corporate partners for their support and participation. This includes Jurong Port, The China Navigation Company, and MacGregor whom I understand is participating for the 2nd time. Thank you also to SMI and UTU for organising this event, and SMF for the support in reaching out to students.
13. Thank you once again, and I look forward to interacting with each of you more during the reception. Together with Finland, and with the industry, let’s work together to transform the sector. We must Lead to Transform, and Transform to Lead.