Singapore explores upskilling, quantum computing and digital twin in maritime week comeback

Singapore Panorama

Singapore’s first hybrid maritime week commenced on 19 April after having been cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The week brought discussion on a wide range of issues across the maritime sector including the use of technology such as digital twin and quantum computing to the ongoing examination of decarbonisation in shipping.

The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) also recognized that with the challenges present in the industry today it requires a workforce with a new skillset.

To this end it launched, in partnership with the Singapore Maritime Foundation, a project aimed at upskilling the maritime workforce and helping the industry meet present and future challenges.

The initiative will see the MPA conduct industry consultations with maritime HR and business-function leaders in May 2021 to discuss which jobs are most suitable for upskilling.

Digital Twin

The use of digital twin technology has been a topic of much interest across ports and terminals as it offers the opportunity to improve efficiencies through accurate monitoring and analysis.

Speaking during Singapore Maritime Week, PSA International, the world’s largest terminal operator, forecast that digital twinswill be one of the most important areas of investment for terminal operators in the coming years.

Responding to PTI’s question on emerging technologies investment, Tan said terminal operators should start with digital twins as it allows ports to use data to understand and measure its processes and outputs.

“[A Digital twin] forces you to know the processes you know in the first place,” Tan said.

“If you are attempting to build a digital twin… you are aware of the current baseline of where you are starting from. Once you have the knowledge, you can evolve, and refine solutions by learning from the data – and you can really make an impact.”

Quantum computing

During another session PSA International indicated that quantum computing will see a change to the world of computing. However, how long it will be until the terminal operator will begin to fully use the technology for its own operations.

Quantum computing, a transformative computing development which allows computers to allow for uncertainty in simulation, can provide exponential processing power to solve complex problems.

Tan said that the idea of quantum computing at its terminals is on the passive horizon.

“We believe that it will come. And it will change the world of computing. It will change our ability to certainly process a lot more data and information,” he said.

However, he noted that there will be side-effects to the implementation of quantum computing as people will be people will be encouraged to build even larger data centres, and there is a need to have to have sustainable data centres.

“Hopefully with the newer technologies, we will be able to enjoy the positive effects and be able to mitigate the negative side-effects.

“We are monitoring and tracking it, but not on an active deployment basis of implementing it into our system by a certain date, in a certain way. Not yet,” he said.

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