Why Singapore’s hi-tech maritime dream still isn’t shipshape

The Ken

The Port of Singapore has held the crown of world’s busiest transshipment port by TEUs since 2020. Singapore’s ambitions go beyond just wearing that coveted crown, however. It wants its shipping industry, a core sector for the city-state’s economy, to be a highly-digitised, global maritime technology startup hub.

And to that effect, it has sunk in effort and money in the last few years. All to address key challenges such as decarbonisation, digitisation, supply-chain resistance that have dogged the industry.

Singapore’s efforts at incubating startups in a rusty old sector has borne some fruit. There are startups such as decarbonisation solutions company Everimpact and crew management platform Greywing up and running in the segment.

But change has been slow to come. According to startups The Ken spoke to, convincing large maritime corporations to adopt these digital solutions has been an uphill task. And the gap between domain expertise and technology hasn’t helped.

For now, there are a bunch of godfathers helping these startups get their ships sailing. PIER71, for instance, connects demand drivers and startups. Marine venture builder ShipsFocus and Singapore-based Quest Ventures also collaborated to launch a S$10 million (US$7.5 million) maritime fund last year.


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