Cross-industry collaborations essential to strengthen the sustainability of the maritime industry and supply chains

(Courtesy of MPA Singapore)

The International Maritime Advisory Group (IAP), chaired by Minister for Transport and Minister Responsible for Trade Relations S Iswaran, held its inaugural meeting on 5-6 April during Singapore Maritime Week 2022. The Maritime IAP was set established by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and includes global business leaders from the maritime sector and adjacent industries. It aims to seek global perspectives on the key trends that will shape the maritime industry and how the maritime sector and adjacent industries can collaborate to improve the connectivity and resilience of the global maritime industry and supply chains. .

Over the two days, IPA Maritime held in-depth discussions with Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policy Heng Swee Keat and S Iswaran on the future of the global economy, trade and supply chains. They also visited the Port of Singapore and had a deeper discussion with S Iswaran on the critical factors as well as stakeholder collaborations needed to build connected, resilient and sustainable supply chains.

Global trends

The Maritimes IAP highlighted three key trends that would shape the future of a resilient and sustainable supply chain:

  • Reconfiguration of supply chains through diversification, regionalization and disintermediation, due to the growing emphasis by countries and companies on the need to build resilience and flexibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical developments;
  • Technological advancements, such as digitization and automation, that would improve productivity and end-to-end visibility of supply chains; and
  • The growing importance of sustainability as countries, businesses and consumers demand a decisive response to climate change.

Enable more connected, resilient and sustainable supply chains

Maritime transport is an essential channel for world trade. In response to the three trends, the Maritime IAP highlighted the important leadership role of maritime hubs around the world, including Maritime Singapore, in enabling more connected, resilient and sustainable supply chains.

The Maritime IPOA highlighted the need for inclusive collaboration between governments, maritime industry and adjacent sectors throughout the global supply chain to accelerate the search for solutions and scale up efforts; thus complementing and reinforcing the efforts undertaken by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The Maritimes IAP has identified building digital corridors and green corridors as two areas of collaboration.

Digital Corridors

Companies and countries are increasingly looking for end-to-end visibility into supply chains to enable better management, responsiveness and optimization of complex supply chains. The emergence of technologies such as Internet of Things technologies, digital twins, blockchains and predictive analytics can generate accurate and timely data flows to enable better integration of supply chains and more agile responses to disturbances.

IAP Maritime highlighted the importance of advancing digital solutions to build supply chain resilience. In particular, the panel recommended the following areas of collaboration with the aim of improving visibility across supply chains:

  • Sharing of data, especially non-commercially sensitive data, can be facilitated through common platforms.
  • Data standardization and interoperability can be improved to facilitate access to reliable, real-time data.
  • Data security can be enhanced to protect the use of data throughout supply chains against the potential risk of increased cyberattacks.

By focusing on these areas, digital corridors between industry, adjacent sectors and governments can be developed to enable a reliable, secure and seamless flow of information through global supply chains.

Green corridors

IPA Maritime noted that there is an urgent need to tackle carbon emissions in shipping. In terms of the investments required on board vessels, the Maritime IAP recommended further engagement with shipyards and engine manufacturers to explore modular vessel development that would provide flexibility.

Given that significant investment will be required to build infrastructure to support future fuel bunkering, the Maritime IPA noted the need to strike a balance between reducing and providing a few viable short-term fuel solutions, and maintaining flexibility to respond to technological advances in this area. region. IPA Maritime has taken note of the global shipping industry’s proposal to the IMO to create a fund to accelerate decarbonisation financed by compulsory financial contributions for marine fuel oil consumed. This would provide funds to accelerate research and development (R&D) in low and zero carbon fuel solutions and encourage the transition to greener shipping while supporting capacity building for climate action in developing countries. . IPA Maritime discussed that Singapore, as a major transshipment hub and bunkering port, could play a role in developing and piloting such a funding mechanism. The pilot project would complement the work of the IMO.

The Maritime IPOA considered the availability of green finance for maritime transport as important to support decarbonisation. To promote the development of green finance, IAP Maritime has proposed a finance ecosystem to unite fund-raising players and match available projects according to their level of risk. To enable better risk assessment, specialist actors from the legal and accounting services sector can be involved to fill the knowledge gap.

IAP Maritime suggested that coalitions of the willing can shape the future of decarbonization by establishing green corridors. Such green corridors would serve as pilots to demonstrate how key ecosystems, including regulatory sandboxes for new fuels, green finance, information sharing and carbon accounting mechanisms, can come together to provide practices to decarbonise the maritime industry.

IPA Maritime agreed that the development of such initiatives should complement the work done at IMO and be inclusive to ensure that the maritime sector can make the green transition together. Bold action on multilateral, regional and bilateral fronts between stakeholders such as maritime and port authorities, industry players and research institutes was needed to accelerate decarbonization efforts. IAP Maritime believed that Maritime Singapore is well placed to foster such collaborations across ecosystems, sectors and borders by leveraging Singapore’s position as a hub hub for maritime, aviation, trade, finance, talent and innovation.

Critical role played by seafarers

The Maritime IPA highlighted the essential role that seafarers play in keeping global supply chains fluid and delivering essential goods to the world. IPA Maritime expressed the hope that countries around the world continue to support seafarers at sea.

Iswaran said, “We thank IAP members for their valuable insights into how we can work together to build connectivity, resilience and sustainability in global supply chains. As a trusted global maritime hub, Maritime Singapore will continue to foster collaborations with like-minded partners to jointly create a digital and green maritime future.

Sea News, April 8