Behind Singapore’s maritime success is MPA. The organisation works to facilitate the growth of this industry, and cultivates talents who are passionate about witnessing the sector grow.
he Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was established to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and an international maritime centre (IMC), and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. 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.
In bolstering Singapore’s growth as an international maritime centre, one key strategy of MPA has been to invest and leverage the latest port and maritime technology. Two MPA Scholars, Ryan Sim and Kong Xieheng, share about what drew them to the maritime sector, and how they wish to contribute to its growth.
A Part of the Future
For Imperial College London student Ryan, growing up near the ports in Pasir Panjang gave him a glimpse of the dynamic maritime industry. This unique overview eventually fostered his interest in a maritime career. He elaborates, “I decided to take up the scholarship with MPA because I could see myself working in the maritime industry, and playing a part to shape our future maritime landscape. With huge developments the industry will be seeing in the medium to long term, MPA, playing the role of both regulator and promoter of the industry, would certainly be an exciting place to be.”
MPA Local Undergraduate Scholar
Deputy Manager (R&D), Research and Technology Development Department
“Commit yourself to the responsibilities that come with your decisions. If you do so, you will have no regrets whatever the choice you make.”
This desire to shape our future maritime landscape led Ryan to apply for the MPA Scholarship. His pleasant experiences from interactions with MPA’s HR officers, directors, and senior management only cemented his desire. “MPA has always felt like family, and this is something I appreciate deeply,” Ryan muses.
While Ryan works to complete his Master’s degree in chemical engineering, fellow scholar Kong Xieheng is already in the organisation. As a Deputy Manager in the Research and Technology Development Department, Xieheng shares how his scholarship has opened many doors for him to be a part of the vast and complex maritime industry.
Opportunities and Challenges
In the Research and Technology Development Department, Xieheng and his team spearhead Singapore’s development as a centre of excellence in maritime R&D and technology. He elaborates, “I develop programmes and incentive schemes to grow the R&D, test-bedding and technology development activities for the maritime technology cluster in Singapore. I also engage in promotional efforts to reach out to and engage the local maritime and R&D community.” This is part of the comprehensive effort to strengthen the maritime landscape and business ecosystem. He adds that he is glad to have had opportunities to be engaged in cross-agency projects with other government agencies such as the Singapore Maritime Institute, which is a joint effort between MPA, A*STAR and EDB.
When it comes to engaging companies, Xieheng caters specifically tailored messages to suit different audiences. “If I am engaging a CEO of a shipping line, the approach and key takeaways will be quite different from when I engage an engine manufacturer. It becomes even more challenging when they are all seated together in the same room. I feel that this is one aspect I have gained a heightened awareness of, but I still have much to learn,” he tells us.
MPA Overseas Undergraduate Scholar
“With huge developments the industry will be seeing in the medium to long term, MPA, playing the role of both regulator and promoter of the industry, would certainly be an exciting place to be.”
Ryan, too, has had his fair share of challenges despite still being in University. He tells us, “My course in Imperial College London is arguably one of the most demanding and intensive courses here. With our massive work load and tight schedule, we have been trained to manage our time well and learn the importance of prioritising. Coping with the stress and pressures of being in a dynamic environment will certainly equip me well for a career in MPA.”
Ryan also shares that studying in London has allowed him to be involved in the International Maritime Organisation, which holds a reception in Central London every year. “This is an eye-opening experience that allows us to see the importance of the global maritime industry to Singapore. It is not something that just anybody can get to be a part of, and it is an opportunity I have greatly benefited from being part of the MPA family,” Ryan tells us spiritedly.
A Familiar Place with Certainty
As attested by the duo, MPA nurtures a family-friendly environment. Ryan and other overseas scholars are kept constantly updated about current industry affairs in Singapore. He also tells us that MPA’s HR department also addresses scholars’ concerns promptly, assuring them of MPA’s strong support system.
Xieheng adds, “The management also encourages staff to socialise and interact through activities outside of the workplace. For instance, it organises a monthly food outing activity, in which we are brought to various famous eating hotspots in Singapore. I also participate in Yogilates, Rock Climbing and Board Games groups, allowing me to get to know a lot more about the people in MPA.”
For aspiring scholars, Xieheng shares his nuggets of wisdom. He shares, “Commit yourself to the responsibilities that come with your decisions. If you do so, you will have no regrets whatever the choice you make.”
Ryan concludes by telling us about what aspiring scholars should keep in mind. He says, “MPA isn’t just looking for people who have done extremely well in the national examinations or know loads about the maritime industry. These things are great, but I think it is way more important to be very clear and certain about the reason behind your application. If you really desire the scholarship and a future career in this world-class organisation, then believe in your goals and your future contributions to MPA.”