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Next Generation Container Port Challenge statement unveiled

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Heng Chiang Gnee (left) and Captain M. Segar at the launch of the Next Generation Container Port Challenge

Performance, productivity, sustainability – achieve these three targets in order to win the Next Generation Container Port (NGCP) Challenge’s top prize of USD1 million.  

Jointly organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), the NGCP Challenge seeks to identify ideas that will achieve a quantum leap in port performance, productivity and sustainability for a new generation of container port that is set 10 years in the future.  

The NGCP Challenge was officially launched today by Capt M Segar*, MPA’s Assistant Chief Executive (Operations) at Mandarin Oriental Singapore. Registration for the international competition is open till 31 July 2012. Participants will have to submit their proposals by 31 December 2012. Submissions will be evaluated by an international panel, comprising representatives from the Singapore government and the maritime industry.

“The current landscape is such that high demands are placed on port infrastructure in the world. It is especially important for Singapore, as a land-scarce nation, to look for innovative proposals that will allow us to achieve an exponential leap in performance, productivity and sustainability. We believe that this competition will allow us to identify ideas that will not only benefit the Port of Singapore, but also revolutionise the entire container port industry, ” said Capt M Segar.

Participants will be required to consider several operating specifications, such as a handling capacity of at least 20 million Twenty-foot equivalent units, 24/7 operations and a 90 per cent berth on arrival for ships. Their design should also be operational within the given land profile and also be environmentally sustainable. These specifications are challenges currently faced by many established container ports around the world.

The winning proposal will be announced at the next Singapore Maritime Week (SMW), which will take place from 7 to 12 April 2013. In addition to the top prize, MPA and SMI will also set aside S$5 million in R&D grant to develop promising proposals and concepts. Before the winner and commendation awards are announced, shortlisted proposals will also be displayed in a public exhibition that will be held in conjunction with SMW 2013.

“As a leading container hub port, it is important for Singapore to continually innovate and leverage on cutting-edge technologies to operate the container ports of the future. The NGCP Challenge serves to support SMI’s R&D strategy on R&D for breakthrough applications as well as to develop our thought leadership in port design, ” said Mr Heng Chiang Gnee, Executive Director of the Singapore Maritime Institute.

About the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre (IMC), and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore’s port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. MPA partners the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.

About the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI)

The Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) is a joint effort by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). Established in Jan 2011, the mission of the SMI is to make a difference through world-class R&D, training & education and thought leadership in policy formulation for the maritime industry. The SMI aims to develop and pursue strategies and programmes in order to further enhance the development of the maritime industry. Key focus areas of the SMI include sectors such as shipping, port and maritime services as well as offshore and marine engineering.   SMI will partner with both the Institutes of Higher Learning and the Research Institutions under A*STAR to work closely with the industry to develop and grow the industry through knowledge and innovation. SMI will work towards attracting renowned academics and researchers to base in Singapore and groom the next generation of local maritime talent to meet the needs of the industry.

*herebelow please find verbatim the Welcome address by captain M. Segar:

Mr Heng Chiang Gnee, Executive Director, Singapore Maritime Institute
Distinguished friends from the maritime community,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the launch of the Next Generation Container Port Challenge, which is jointly organised by the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

This Challenge is a timely one as we celebrate 40 years of containerisation in Singapore this year and chart the next chapter of our international premier hub port. Singapore was an early adopter of container shipping. Industry veterans may recall that Singapore launched our first container terminal in Tanjong Pagar in 1972. At that time, we were only the second country in Asia, after Japan, to build a container terminal. Since then, we have capitalised on our first mover advantage and the strong growth of Asia to become one of the world’s busiest container ports. This has been made all the more possible by our continuous investment in infrastructure and technology.

Future Challenges for Container Ports

Looking ahead, Singapore and other container ports must continue to innovate to meet the future needs of container shipping. On the demand side, global container traffic has been growing at an annual rate of about five to seven per cent in the last decade. Some experts estimate that if this growth rate continues, the global container trade will double within the next 10 to 15 years . Given the long gestation period for port development, this means that ports have to start making plans today to accommodate tomorrow’s growth in container volumes. Planners also have to take into account increasingly large container ships that require deeper drafts, longer berths and wider channels. Compounding this are greater economic volatility and environmental concerns, which put increasing pressure on ports to provide their services in a cost-efficient yet environmentally sustainable manner.

On the supply side, port operators have responded with greater use of information technology and automation to manage increasingly complex operations. Many ports, especially those located in metropolitan cities like Singapore, are also finding ways to increase efficiency to overcome their land and labour constraints.

Notwithstanding these changes, the fundamental design of a container port has not changed much since it was introduced some 40 years ago. To be future-ready, the industry needs to challenge conventional thinking and explore radical new ideas for future container ports.

Next Generation Container Port Challenge

It is for this reason that land-scarce Singapore has conceived the Next Generation Container Port Challenge. This Challenge dares participants to play the role of a port planner and submit revolutionary designs that can achieve a quantum leap in innovation, efficiency, productivity and sustainability for container ports. The winner stands to win a US$1 million cash prize. We will also set aside an additional S$5 million to support further development of other deserving submissions. The results of the Challenge will be announced in a year’s time.

I am heartened by the industry’s response since this Challenge was announced last October. SMI and MPA have received about 70 expressions of interest from industry and academia from more than 10 countries. This Challenge is also a good opportunity for academia to partner industry practitioners to tackle real-world challenges. You will soon hear the Executive Director of SMI, Mr Heng Chiang Gnee, share details of the challenge statement.


Ladies and gentlemen, the Next Generation Container Port Challenge presents a major step forward for the maritime industry. This Challenge is also the first of many SMI initiatives to come that will to enhance maritime R&D in Singapore and grow Singapore as a maritime knowledge hub.

I thank you for supporting this Challenge and I look forward to hearing your ideas. Thank you.

 For more information viewers can visit www.maritimeinstitute.sg

(source:maria dixon)

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