Maritime technology (MarineTech) companies keen to gain a foothold in maritime industry can now look to the newly launched MarineTech Start-up Playbook  developed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). The playbook contains information on support schemes and programmes in Singapore relating to capital, talent, technology R&D resources for MarineTech start-ups. MPA aims to support 150 start-ups by 2025, an increase from the earlier target of 100, as part of enhanced plans to develop the MarineTech ecosystem. Enhancements to develop maritime start-ups were announced by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport, at the Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2021 Grand Final today.
With over 40 active MarineTech companies, Singapore provides an enabling environment for tech talents to bring their innovative ideas to spur transformation efforts in the maritime sector. To build on the success of PIER71™ (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71) in supporting entrepreneurs from ideation to acceleration, MPA and NUS Enterprise have agreed to renew their collaboration for another three years. Ascend, a 12-month by-invitation programme to support the scaling of mature start-ups and groom them into global champions, will be launched under PIER71™. MarineTech start-ups can now be linked up with NUS’ Industry Liaison Office and tech experts working on maritime-related fields for mentorship and expertise to bring their solutions to the cutting edge.
To grow the number of MarineTech companies and strengthen access to funding, MPA will extend the eligibility criteria of MINT-STARTUP grant  to start-ups identified under recognised partner programmes in Singapore. These programmes are Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) Ventures, Ocean of Opportunities (O3) Challenge by Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Symphony Creative Solutions (SCS), PSA unboXed and Rainmaking Innovation. There will be stepped up engagement with the Venture Capital community with the launch of investor networking and pitching events.
In the next stage of MPA’s digitalOCEANS™ initiative , the first version of the application programming interface (API) specifications for port clearance  have been developed. MarineTech start-ups and other players can also tailor their products to utilise this common, inter-operable APIs, to develop port clearance related solutions, and potentially expand their market reach to more ports, shipping lines and other supply chain companies.
Memorandum of understanding between MPA and Wärtsilä on system interoperability and data sharing
At the event, Mr Chee also witnessed the virtual signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MPA and Wärtsilä. Under this MoU, both parties will embark on a new data sharing collaboration that facilitate interoperability between MPA’s one-stop portal for arriving ships, digitalPORT@SG™ and Wärtsilä’s Navi-Port shipboard system, to enable timely vessel arrival to the Port of Singapore for Just-In-Time (JIT) operations and sustainable shipping. The collaboration will also include strengthening secure data exchanges between the Port of Singapore and participating vessels’ shipboard systems to support the acceleration of digitalisation in the maritime industry.
Mr Koh Chin Yong, Chief Information Officer and Acting Director (IT), MPA, said “At MPA, we have been leading the development and implementation of digital port clearance technology to improve efficiency in the world’s leading hub port.This collaboration with industry partners like Wärtsilä, using its Navi-Port for Just-in-Time planning and coordination on the digitalPORT™ platform, further solidifies our commitment towards digitalisation to support port-to-port optimisation and maritime decarbonisation.”
Mr Chris Chung, Director of Digital Innovation and Strategic Projects, Wärtsilä Voyage, said, “Together, we will work with other industry stakeholders, such as Wärtsilä’s customers whose vessels would be calling at the Port of Singapore. Subject to their consent, we will use the vessel’s nautical data to test-bed reliable and secure information exchanges using applications like Wärtsilä Navi-Port. This will help implement standard Application Programming Interface (API) between participating vessels and MPA’s Just-In-Time (JIT) coordination platforms such as digitalPORT™ and digitalOCEANS™ to enable optimal arrival and departure of vessels from the port.”
 The playbook can be downloaded at www.go.gov.sg/marinetech-start-up-playbook.
 Launched in April 2021, the Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund-STARTUP grant scheme awards up to $50,000 to PIER71™ (Port Innovation Ecosystem Reimagined @ BLOCK71) alumni to pilot their projects, while scale-ups can be awarded up to $100,000.
 The digitalOCEANS™ initiative involves industry partners to promote greater system-to-system interoperability across the global maritime transport chain through common data standards.
 For more information on the API specifications, please visit https://www.digitaloceans.com