6 March 2008 - Welcome Address By Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Maritime And Port Authority Of Singapore At The Launch Of The Wiseport Project, PSA Building.
Welcome Address By Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Maritime And Port Authority Of Singapore At The Launch Of The Wiseport Project on 6 March 2008, PSA Building.
Rear Admiral Ian Moncrieff, National Hydrographer of the United Kingdom,
Rear Admiral(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive, Infocomm Development Authority,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is my pleasure to be with you to launch the WISEPORT Project and celebrate the exciting prospects that wireless broadband creates for the Singapore port.
2. Singapore is first in the world to extend mobile wireless broadband access throughout its port. WISEPORT marks the government’s commitment to the continued growth and development of Maritime Singapore.
3. 2007 was a particularly good year for the Singapore maritime sector. The industry registered double-digit growth in a number of key areas, including ship arrival tonnage, container throughput, bunker sales, and ships registered with the Singapore flag. Vessel arrivals grew 11% from 2006 in shipping tonnage to 1.46 billion gross tons. Container traffic rose 12.7% to 27.9 million TEUs, while bunker sales increased by 11.2% to reach 31.5 million tonnes. The Singapore Registry of Ships recorded a 13.8% increase over 2006, totaling some 39.6 million gross tons.
4. Going forward, we will continue to enhance Singapore’s value proposition to the maritime community, through improved competitiveness and efficiency. We have sought to achieve this through harnessing advanced technology and promoting innovation in the maritime sector. In 2002, the MPA set up a Maritime R&D Advisory Panel, comprising renowned technologists and industry leaders, to advise us on the promotion and development of maritime R&D in Singapore. The MPA also established a S$100 million Maritime Innovation and Technology or MINT fund to develop maritime R&D expertise and support projects for the sector.
5. The Infocomm@SeaPort Programme exemplifies Singapore’s commitment to harnessing the benefits of technology and promoting innovation to further develop as a maritime centre. Launched in September last year, Infocomm@SeaPort is a $12 million programme jointly funded by the MPA and the Infocomm Development Authority, to promote the use of infocomm technologies, or ICT, within our port and in the maritime community.
WISEPORT Project - First of Its Kind
6. WISEPORT is the first project under the Programme and the first of its kind in the world. Riding on the next generation Mobile WiMAX wireless broadband network, the WISEPORT Project provides the port and maritime community with high bandwidth, low-cost and secured wireless broadband access up to 15 kilometres from Singapore’s coastline. In doing so, we raise the bar in port infrastructure, as well as create new opportunities for our maritime and port community.
Benefits of WISEPORT
7. Allow me to highlight just three benefits of WISEPORT.
8. Firstly, WISEPORT is envisaged to help enhance operational and business processes. Access to the internet and wireless broadband connectivity for downloading and uploading of data provide the infrastructure for IT systems and applications to help companies track ships operating in the port, facilitate communications between ships at anchorage and their agents on shore, and speed up documentation exchanges.
Improved Human Communications
9. At the people-level, WISEPORT can improve human communications and enhance the welfare of seafarers. Ship operators can leverage on WISEPORT to enhance communications between shipboard crew and their families and friends. In a recent “Life at Sea Survey”, 70.7 percent of seafarers interviewed ranked access to the internet as the most important onboard facility. This co-relates with the 67.6 percent who listed time apart from family and friends as the reason that deters them from a career at sea. With the Mobile WiMAX services that WISEPORT offers, seafarers in our port would be able to communicate and maintain regular contact with their friends and loved ones via e-mails, web-cams, blogs, as well as more recent internet phenomena like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook.
10. A third and equally important benefit of WISEPORT is that the wireless infrastructure unlocks business opportunities previously hindered by high satellite communication airtime costs. One such example is the delivery of online services such as electronic navigational chart or ENC updates. I am delighted that UK Hydrographer Rear Admiral Moncrieff and his team are here with us for the launch of WISEPORT. The UK Hydrographic Office and MPA have been working closely to develop and promote ENCs for many years. I am happy to note that the UKHO will be leveraging on the WISEPORT infrastructure to offer ENCs online.
11. The MPA and IDA have also received a good number of proposals on new business ideas for funding support. These range from vessel tracking and fleet management, to video streaming of educational materials to portals for e-learning, to remote data monitoring and gathering. Other ideas that have surfaced include remote vessel monitoring for safety and security, data communications between research facilities on the Southern Islands and our tertiary research institutes.
12. There is much excitement about the new possibilities and opportunities created by the WISEPORT project. Not just from industry stakeholders and research institutes, but also the many communities along the coast. I encourage all to approach the MPA and IDA to explore and realise the full potential of mobile wireless access in our port to create value for your businesses, partners and customers.
13. Ladies and gentlemen, the challenge amidst rapid technological advances, is to harness new technologies to enhance business and operational processes, create new opportunities and improve overall quality of life. I encourage you to seize the new opportunities and capitalise on the WISEPORT advantage.
14. Thank you.