Smart Port Challenge 2024 Expanding Reach Globally

Launch of Smart Port Challenge 2024

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), announced the launch of the Smart Port Challenge (SPC) 2024 today. This annual event, aimed at attracting start-ups with innovative, technology-driven solutions to address the industry’s key challenges, was held during InnovFest x Elevating Founders 2024, the official start-up event of Asia Tech x Singapore.

Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, officiated the SPC 2024 launch. Over 200 international start-ups, venture capitalists, corporations, and participants attended the event. For the detailed SPC 2024 launch programme, refer to Annex A.

PIER71TM will leverage the extensive network of BLOCK71 and MPA’s new regional offices, organising six international roadshows in key maritime hubs across Asia, Europe, and North America in June 2024. These roadshows aim to attract a global audience of start-ups, innovators, and venture capitalists to SPC. Besides fostering new networks and partnerships, the roadshows will promote awareness of Singapore’s vibrant technology and innovation ecosystem and investment opportunities. PIER71™ also hopes to encourage overseas start-ups to incubate and develop their cutting-edge technologies and solutions in Singapore.

SPC 2024 Challenge Statements

SPC 2024 introduced 14 challenge statements focusing on four key areas: maritime green technologies, smart shipping, next-generation ports, and digitalisation, which includes artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and cloud technologies. These challenges highlight the critical issues facing the global maritime industry and present diverse opportunities for start-ups to influence its future. For detailed challenge statements, refer to Annex B.

Shortlisted start-ups will participate in a 12-week PIER71™ Accelerate programme and may qualify for MPA Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) grant funding of up to S$100,000 for proof-of-concept or pilot projects and up to S$250,000 for new product development. They will also receive support from PIER71’s global network of partners. The top three winners of SPC 2024 will receive cash prizes at the finals in November 2024. Interested start-ups can find more information and submit proposals through PIER71™’s website at The submission deadline is 8, 2024.

Smart Port

Five Start-ups Awarded MINT Grants

At the event, MPA awarded grants totaling S$250,000 to five outstanding maritime technology (MarineTech) start-ups that participated in SPC 2023. Since its inception in 2018, PIER71TM has grown from supporting 17 start-ups to over 100 today. MPA aims to reach 150 MarineTech start-ups in Singapore by 2025.

The grants will help the five start-ups develop prototypes and solutions, such as a platform for optimising, evaluating, and verifying biofuel blends, a mobile platform for real-time vessel activity monitoring in port, a cybersecurity solution for on-board vessel networks, a digital tool for enhanced ship inspection and auditing, and a digital twin for container depot operations. For more information on these start-ups, refer to Annex C.

Quotes from MPA and NUS

Mr. Kenneth Lim, MPA’s Assistant Chief Executive (Industry & Transformation), remarked, “The PIER71™ Smart Port Challenge remains a vital platform for innovation in the maritime sector. By attracting diverse solutions from start-ups, SPC fosters innovation and accelerates the development of cutting-edge technologies through industry collaboration. I am enthusiastic about the international roadshows for SPC 2024 and look forward to seeing more novel solutions addressing the industry’s challenges.”

Professor Chen Tsuhan, NUS Deputy President (Innovation and Enterprise), stated, “Our collaboration with MPA broadens the impact within the growing maritime innovation ecosystem in Singapore and beyond. Leveraging NUS’ robust resources and talent, along with our extensive global BLOCK71 network, we are committed to nurturing an environment that supports start-ups and innovators worldwide, whether they establish themselves in Singapore or expand overseas. With support from MPA’s regional directors, this partnership extends valuable resources and growth opportunities to maritime talents and start-ups, driving innovation and leaving a lasting impact on the maritime industry.”

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