SINGAPORE (Oct 30): The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has launched a one-stop digital portal for maritime regulatory and port services transactions, that is expected to save the shipping industry an estimated 100,000 man-hours annually.

Announcing the launch of the portal at the opening of the two-day Global Maritime Forum (GMF) Annual Summit on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat outlined how the global maritime industry could take collective action for the future.

Heng, who is also Minister for Finance, says these could include renewing the commitment to rules-based multilateralism, advocating maritime sustainability, and fostering greater digital connectivity within the maritime value chain.

Named digitalPORT @ SG, the digital Portal for One-stop Regulatory Transactions will be rolled out in two phases.

In the first phase, users can obtain approval for all arriving and departing ships from three public agencies – MPA, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) – through a single portal.

The portal will consolidate up to 16 separate forms into a single application.

digitalPORT @ SG will also have data exchange with port community systems such as Portnet and Jurong Port Online to receive relevant information including declaration on dangerous goods operations at the port terminals.

The trial, which has started since Oct 1 for more than 10 companies, will be progressively rolled out to the industry from December this year.

In Phase 2, the system will be enhanced to also serve as a single digital shopfront for booking terminal and marine services, facilitating just-in-time operations for optimal vessel passage planning within Singapore port.

MPA on Wednesday also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DNV GL, which maps out a three-year R&D collaboration in the key areas of decarbonisation and digital transformation for sustainable and smart maritime ecosystems.

DNV GL is a leading provider of classification services that invests in maritime R&D activities and collaborates with the industry and research community to develop insights into future regulations and upcoming technologies for the industry.

Key areas for collaboration include the development of new maritime business and operation models utilising additive manufacturing for ship spares and blockchain technologies for port and shipping processes, as well as market and technical feasibility research of low and zero carbon ship fuels such as Bio-LNG, and battery and battery-hybrid for short-sea applications.

MPA and DNV GL will also explore autonomous and remote controlled ships as well as shore-based operation and control centres.

In addition, they will curate maritime-related thought leadership forums to foster closer collaboration and exchange of views between public and private sector.

“The operating environment ahead for the maritime industry will be defined by three trends – digitalisation, disruption and decarbonisation. The unprecedented pace of change we face today would affect maritime trade flows, transform business models and impact our collective commitment to sustainability, says MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon.

“These demands present the global maritime community with opportunities to come together and cooperate on these issues,” she adds.

“Decarbonisation and digitalisation are two important trends shaping the maritime industry. This agreement highlights the emphasis that MPA Singapore and DNV GL place on technological innovation and by working together we will unlock the potential of low and zero carbon shipping, autonomy as wells as smart port ecosystems,” says Remi Eriksen, group president and CEO of DNV GL.