Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sea, Land Transport and Aerospace Industry Transformation Maps launched; ITMs not static but adaptable, says Iswaran

Road map to boost Singapore's edge in maritime industry
Over 5,000 good jobs to be created by 2025, with sector's value-add expanded by $4.5 billion
By Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 13 Jan 2018

Maintaining Singapore's thriving maritime industry as a world leader is the central theme of an ambitious new blueprint for the sector unveiled yesterday.

It underlined just how vital the industry is for the economy while also laying out the challenges it faces to maintain and strengthen its position amid fierce global competition.

The Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM), as the strategy is called, noted that Singapore starts from a position of strength.

Container throughput rose 8.9 per cent to 33.7 million containers last year, while the maritime industry as a whole employed more than 170,000 people and contributed 7 per cent to the economy.

"While 2017 was a better year than the last, we watch with cautious optimism, as the road ahead remains challenging. Indeed, we have to continue to paddle hard to stay ahead," said Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport and for Health.

He made it clear that major changes lie ahead, from port workers upgrading skills to management grappling with radical new technology. The sector is in for "real and deep transformation over the next few years", he noted.

"We must fundamentally relook the way we operate... as well as the kind of capabilities our maritime workforce needs," he said.

The ITM has an overarching vision: to make Singapore a global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation and talent. That, in turn, means expanding the sector's value-add by $4.5 billion and creating over 5,000 good jobs by 2025.

Dr Lam said at the ITM launch ceremony at PSA Pasir Panjang Terminal Building 3: "We not only have to continue to deliver world-class port services, we must also capture new growth opportunities."

One key strategy is to build up a well-connected international maritime centre cluster. That will involve the Government continuing to boost the port's physical connectivity by anchoring and attracting shipping lines here.

More initiatives, such as the inaugural Maritime Capital Forum last year, will also be rolled out to develop the maritime financing landscape here.

Another key thrust is to drive growth through better productivity and innovation, particularly by using automation and digitalisation.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is developing technology platforms to facilitate the sharing of vessel and cargo-related information with the wider trading community.

It is also looking at digitalising trade and maritime documentation, like using electronic bills of lading.

The Singapore Maritime Institute will invest $12 million to set up the Centre of Excellence in Modelling and Simulation for Next Generation Ports that will enhance the Singapore port's ability to handle increasingly complex operations.

The Government will do more to bring well-trained personnel into the industry, said Dr Lam, adding that most of the 5,000 new jobs to be created will be professional, manager, executive and technician roles.

Those in more traditional jobs will undergo skills upgrading as jobs evolve with increasing automation and digitalisation.

This year, two maritime SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programmes launched earlier in 2016 will be open to more graduates, enabling junior seafarers to deepen their skills to take on higher-level jobs.

The ITM is the first of eight road maps to be launched this year. A total of 15 ITMs have already been set in motion as part of a $4.5 billion industry transformation package announced in Budget 2016.

Industry transformation map wins support of maritime companies
By Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 13 Jan 2018

The Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) has earned backing from firms in the industry, especially for its focus on digital solutions and better productivity.

Local shipbroker Eastport Maritime believes the ITM will provide firms more impetus to upgrade.

"Shipping is quite process-driven, and a lot of these processes are still done manually," chairman Matthias Cher told The Straits Times.

"The push for innovation under the ITM reminds us that transformation is under way, and that our industry will have to go with the flow to embrace technology."

Mr Cher was referring to initiatives such as developing electronic bills of lading.

The MPA, Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association inked an agreement yesterday to look into digitalising trade and maritime documentation.

"All these initiatives to encourage digitalisation gears the industry up to look at technology. It makes us realise that actually, with support from the MPA, this might not be so difficult," said Mr Cher. "After all, it is not easy to say 'no' to digitalisation because it is coming right at our faces."

Mr Cher added that Eastport has already benefited from MPA's Maritime Cluster Fund on a few projects, including one last year that allowed the firm to tap funding to develop a tool to help raise productivity.

"Our staff used to do some of the data entry and analysis manually, which took up a lot of time and also made room for human errors," he said.

"So, we got a third-party technology developer to come up with a structured, digital tool for us. In three months, it came up with the tool, which has been able to reduce the number of man-hours for data processing by 30 per cent."

Other industry players, and even those from adjacent sectors, have given the new road map the nod.

Mr Teo Siong Seng, managing director of home-grown shipping line Pacific International Lines, noted that the initiative was developed with strong tripartite partnership in the maritime industry, and will help position it for growth.

"It is through this strong partnership that the ITM initiatives will continue to be refined and sharpened to meet the changing needs of respective industries," he said.

Mr Robert Yap, executive chairman of logistics giant YCH Group, added that the ITM will bring Singapore one step closer to cementing its position as a leading logistics and supply chain management hub.

He noted that the Logistics ITM itself has seen good progress, with 45 firms from the newly formed Supply Chain and Logistics Academy participating in the Logistics Professional Conversion Programme, of which 80 per cent are small and medium-sized enterprises.

Future Tuas mega port will be “efficient and intelligent”: MPA
Port will tap tech, data to optimise ops
By Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 15 Jan 2018

The future Tuas mega port will be an "efficient and intelligent" port that harnesses emerging technologies and data analytics to optimise operations, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

These will include capabilities such as "just-in-time" vessel arrival applications and the upcoming Maritime Single Window, which will facilitate quicker port clearances.

And to stay in the forefront, Singapore is investing in more such new port capabilities, said the MPA in a statement last Friday.

The MPA and port operator PSA will, as part of the freshly launched Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM), step up research and development efforts as well as capability development in the areas of digitalisation, connected community systems, and automation and robotics.

A fleet of 30 automated guided vehicles have already been deployed in a trial at the Pasir Panjang 3 Terminal, along with automated yard cranes and quay cranes.

"Deployment of such automated systems will be scaled up in the Tuas port," said the MPA.

The Sea Transport ITM, which covers the port, shipping and maritime services sectors, comprises specific initiatives to catalyse innovation, drive productivity improvements, as well as enhance the skills of the maritime workforce.

The aim is to grow the industry's value-add by $4.5 billion and create more than 5,000 good jobs by 2025.

The ITM was launched in conjunction with PSA's new exhibition on its advanced port technologies, including some that are being unveiled to the public for the first time.

The Intelligent Port of the Future exhibition, which opened last week, will now run until Wednesday at Pasir Panjang Terminal Building 3, instead of ending yesterday as initially planned.

It depicts PSA's journey in adopting technology and the progress it has made in the use of automation, data analytics, robotics and other technologies, PSA said in a statement last week.

The exhibition offers visitors a first-time look at technologies in use at container terminals in Singapore and those being considered for the future Tuas port.

These include amphibious drones, automated quay cranes, exoskeletons for port staff, as well as robotic arms for related container activities.

* Aerospace industry transformation map eyes 1,000 new jobs by 2020
Industry transformation map also sets out to add $4 billion in value to manufacturing in the industry
By Stephanie Luo, The Straits Times, 18 Jan 2018

An aerospace industry transformation map (ITM) that could create 1,000 new jobs by 2020 and add $4 billion in value to manufacturing in the sector has been launched.

Developed by a multi-agency team together with industry partners, unions and trade associations, the ITM maps out strategies to build an aerospace industry catering for the future.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran launched the ITM in line with the 10th anniversary of Seletar Aerospace Park, which will be having a series of student outreach initiatives to groom future talent, and new phases of development.

The ITM has identified three key areas: pursuing operational excellence, driving innovation in emerging technologies, and equipping Singaporeans with relevant skills.

One way it will help improve productivity is through assisting local aerospace company, Singapore Aerospace Manufacturing, to invest in advanced automation equipment as well as software and engineering capabilities that will upgrade existing lines to manufacture next-generation aircraft components.

Another initiative by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research will encourage the development of industry-relevant technologies that can be brought onto the market in the coming years, the EDB said in a press statement yesterday.

Possible focus areas in the collaboration include industrial Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, data analytics for predictive maintenance and asset optimisation.

To help implement changes in the aerospace industry, the Government also aims to deepen ties with industry associations here, including the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) and the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers.

"The Aerospace ITM, like all other ITMs, is focused on the needs and challenges of the industry, especially the SMEs who are a major part of our economy," Mr Iswaran said, adding that ITMs are "integral to our efforts to transform our economy and drive long-term growth".

Key components of the aerospace ITM that he highlighted were ideas and feedback from the industry, the labour movement and other stakeholders, including the Aerospace ITM Forum and Aerospace Industry Tripartite Committee.

Mr Iswaran said the initiatives in the ITM are not set in stone and "must respond to a dynamic economic environment".

"The development and implementation of the ITM must be keenly attuned to industry trends, and its various initiatives must adapt and (be) continually refined to help our enterprises respond quickly and effectively to changing economic conditions."

The aerospace ITM is the 17th of 23 maps that the Government has earmarked. The remaining maps are expected to be launched by March. The 23 ITMs will cover 80 per cent of the economy.

The introduction of ITMs was first announced in Budget 2016.

Yesterday, the EDB said the aerospace industry is a key sector of growth for the Singapore economy, with an average annual growth rate of 7 per cent in value-add over the past 20 years.

It added that Singapore has continued to maintain its status as the Asia-Pacific's leading maintenance, repair and overhaul hub, contributing to 10 per cent of the global aerospace industry's output for the sector .

Industry transformation maps not static but adaptable: Iswaran
The Straits Times, 18 Jan 2018

The industry transformation maps (ITMs) rolled out by the Government are not static plans but need to adjust to changing conditions, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said yesterday.

"If there's a need to modify, maybe even change fundamentally some aspects, that's something we have to do.

"The environment we are operating in is such a fast-changing one. It will not do to have static plans," Mr Iswaran told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the aerospace sector's ITM.

"Some of the other ITMs were launched more than a year back and the environment has already shifted, like in retail... (They) are already revisiting to see what else they need to do and where they need to make changes."

To date, 17 ITMs have been launched, with the rest expected to be rolled out by March.

While the ITMs have found broad support from businesses, there have been concerns that they may not be responsive enough to new trends, and that many smaller companies are not fully aware of how the programmes can help them transform their operations.

Mr Iswaran said: "I think it's important that SMEs and SME bosses make the effort to understand what is available out there and if they don't understand, find out." This is where trade associations, industry associations and chambers of commerce have a key role to play in raising awareness of ITMs.

"They understand the programme, and we're talking about a base of 180,000 SMEs. You really need these trade associations and chambers as opinion multipliers who can take the message to the ground and activate the response from that broad base."

Mr Iswaran added that the programmes, including skills development, are being designed and communicated to reach out, in particular to the SME community. "It's important we don't see this as a government initiative alone because it is really an initiative that needs to be owned by all parties," he said.

Using the Committee on the Future Economy as an example, he said more than three-quarters of the members were from the private sector, and it was "not by accident but (by) design".

"We recognise that the trends are such that we need industry players on board with us because they have their finger on the pulse in terms of what's happening."

** Land Transport Industry Transformation Map: LTA will launch $25 million fund to drive innovation in land transport sector and create 8,000 jobs by 2030
Road map to help land transport sector prepare for change
By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 13 Feb 2018

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will set aside $25 million over five years to kick-start mobility-related research and trials for the land transport industry - a sector which will create 8,000 new jobs by 2030.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday that the Land Transport Innovation Fund will include collaborative projects between the LTA and local industry partners such as ST Kinetics.

He said the government-linked company is working on autonomous robot movers - which move heavy components needed for rail maintenance - for train depots. It is also looking at augmented reality devices for railway training, maintenance and inspection.

Speaking at the launch of the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map, Mr Khaw said the land transport industry has to be "technology ready, workforce ready and ecosystem ready".

In a sector where developments like driverless vehicles could take away jobs, Mr Khaw also said a land transport industry transformation map was being developed to prepare workers for new roles.

He said the industry currently employs 123,000 people, with 21,000 in the bus and rail sectors. The bulk of the remainder are private-hire and taxi drivers.

"With the expansion of our public bus and rail systems, we expect the current workforce of 21,000 to grow by 8,000 new jobs by 2030," he said, adding that technology will create more jobs for professionals, managers, executives and technicians.

"To ensure that our public transport workers keep pace with industry development, we will upskill workers, and reskill them," the minister said.

The Singapore Bus Academy and Singapore Rail Academy, whose courses have benefited more than 2,200 participants to date, will help with this effort.

A Public Transport Skills Framework has been developed to provide "a clear pathway" for skills upgrading and mastery. To be launched in May, it will help workers see where their new skills may take them.

The minister said the industry contributes to about 1.1 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product, but "the wider economic and intangible benefits from enhanced connectivity are much higher".

He noted that the Government has spent more than $28 billion since 2013 on the public transport system, and that more than 5,000 people have joined the bus and rail sectors. Another 40,000 have become private-hire car drivers since 2013.

The LTA, beyond its traditional role of planner and regulator, will partner agencies such as IE Singapore, Spring Singapore and the Economic Development Board to develop the land transport industry transformation map, he added.

In his blog yesterday, National Transport Workers' Union executive secretary Melvin Yong said he had been losing sleep over the eventual arrival of driverless vehicles that might take away driving jobs. But he said the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map will "hopefully... help me sleep better".

He said the plan should "prepare and transition workers through these changes with ease, at the same time develop and build a workforce that is well-equipped to take on future and higher-value jobs".

SBS Transit senior engineer Alvin Lim, 49, told The Straits Times that using technology to monitor the condition of the North East MRT line has resulted in more accurate assessments as well as better working conditions.

"Previously, we had to do everything manually, set up scaffolding in the tunnels, and technicians worked from a height," he said. "It was labour-intensive, and we combed the line in three-month cycles."

But with the Catenary Eye and Video Monitoring System, the state of the train power-supply system is monitored "live", and the staff are alerted via SMS when there are anomalies.

"Machines also seldom make mistakes," Mr Lim said, explaining that this meant "more objective and reliable" monitoring.

Plans at a glance
The Straits Times, 13 Feb 2018

• LTA to partner agencies such as IE Singapore, Spring Singapore and the Economic Development Board to develop a land transport industry transformation map.

• LTA to set aside $25 million over five years for mobility-related research and trials for the land transport industry.

• Future-proof 123,000 land transport workers, with headcount growing by 8,000 from now until 2030.

• Upskilling and reskilling workers to be done at institutes of higher learning and academies such as the Singapore Bus Academy and Singapore Rail Academy.

• A Public Transport Skills Framework, to be launched in May, to help workers better visualise where they are headed with the new skills they are acquiring.

Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map to Drive Singapore’s Vision to be a Global Maritime Hub for Connectivity, Innovation and Talent
Tuas mega port: Keeping the ships sailing in – why the mega port matters
Towards an Innovative Land Transport Industry Enabled by Technology and a Highly Competent Workforce -12 Feb 2018

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