Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:32

Inmarsat report identifies the role of Singapore start-ups in maritime digital transformation


An Inmarsat report brands Singapore as a “start-up magnet” due to its advanced maritime economy and predicts that the country’s IT market will generate US$2.4 billion in 2021 and reach US$4.8 billion by 2030.

Inmarsat, which claims to be “the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications”, sponsored a new study that highlights a comprehensive overview of Singapore’s maritime start-up sector.

The Trade 2.0 Singapore Maritime Start-up and Innovation Ecosystem Report, published through the Inmarsat Research Programme, according to Inmarsat, “is the second country-specific study of start-ups and their impact on maritime digitalisation.”

The study is based “on a global Trade 2.0 report launched in 2019 and the Japan Trade 2.0 report published in April 2020. Again, the report is authored by Leonardo Zangrando, Founder of Wharf, and Nick Chubb, Managing Director of maritime innovation consultancy Thetius.

With one-quarter of the world’s goods passing through the Singapore Strait each year, the report identifies the “island city-state as ‘The Start-up magnet’”. It forecasts that Singapore’s maritime IT market alone will “generate US$2.4 billion in 2021 and reach US$4.8 billion by 2030.”

Two accelerators are driving innovation for the shipping and offshore sectors. Pier 71, founded by the Maritime and Port Authority and NUS Enterprise, has matched start-ups with backers including BP, Wilhelmsen, Pacific International Lines, Ocean Network Express, Cargotec, Wärtsilä, Vopak, and Bernhard Schulte Ship Management. Meanwhile, the Techstars/Eastern Pacific Shipping ‘MaritimeTech Accelerator’ has provided home to 18 emerging technology companies.

Ronald Spithout, Inmarsat Maritime President, claims “Singapore is maritime technology ‘David’ in a world of ‘Goliaths’ with a unique, agile, and rapidly expanding innovation ecosystem for start-ups.”

The Trade 2.0 Singapore Maritime Start-up and Innovation Ecosystem Report identifies “some rising start-up stars that demonstrate how the approach can bring or adapt solutions quickly to markets.”

The study says Greywing was originally “a platform for ship operators to access security resources by matching suppliers with clients”, for example. The COVID-19 crewing crisis led to its repositioning “as a tool to get crews safely home by analysing data and controls from 100,000 ports, including immigration restrictions, visas, and flight availability.”

COVID-19 also prompted Aeras Medical to expand its digital platform to include remote video ‘Fit to-Travel’ services, allowing doctors to certify crew without physically boarding the vessel.

Spithout explains, “Enabled by the Fleet Data IoT platform, Inmarsat’s Certified Application Provider (CAP) programme has grown dramatically in Singapore.”

“We have five Singapore companies already in the programme, four of which are in scaleup mode. They cover vessel performance, video monitoring, fuel optimisation, crew well-being, and are among the maritime digitalisation pioneers,” he adds.

“We have also been working with start-up accelerators such as Rainmaking which signifies the importance of the country,” concludes Spithout.

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