As the driving force behind Maritime Singapore, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) mission is to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre (IMC), and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s maritime interests.
MPA is looking for passionate individuals to be nurtured and to play a part in steering Maritime Singapore into the future. To find out more from those who have embarked on this maritime journey, we speak to MPA scholars Nelson Tay, 30, and Jotham Teo, 21.
Streamlining Systems With Technology
In a twist to the story, Nelson’s vision for the future did not include a career in maritime from the start. As an IT student, he had always pictured himself making contributions in one of the IT giants.
MPA Undergraduate Scholarship
Current Role - IT Manager (Port & Shipping Systems)
Engineering & IT Division
It was a chance internship with an established organisation in the maritime industry that ignited his interest. “Tasked to enhance their systems and having the opportunity to be exposed to port operations, the importance of digitalisation in the maritime industry dawned on me. I saw the opportunities for me to contribute if I were to join the industry, and so I applied for the MPA scholarship once I had the chance,” he recounts.
Nelson is currently part of a national project called Maritime Single Window (MSW). MSW is a key project under MPA’s Next Generation Port Initiative to promote more efficient, seamless, and integrated port services, including port clearance. The project is a prime example of the MPA spirit of being forward-thinking, embracing new technology to contribute to the advancement of Singapore’s maritime industry in an era of digitisation.
How exactly will this system contribute to the maritime industry in Singapore? Nelson explains, “The first phase of MSW aims to streamline and simplify port clearance by integrating various processes into a single flow that reduces the amount of documents ships need to submit to authorities in Singapore.
Future enhancements will allow integration with our other major systems and this will increase the quality and efficiency of MPA’s service delivery. He continues that one of MSW’s goals is to partner with stakeholders and create a single platform to book marine services, facilitating the connectivity amongst industry stakeholders.
MPA Undergraduate Scholarship
Growing In A Complex Ecosystem
The clever implementation of technology to increase efficiency and connect stakeholders is especially important in the complex maritime industry. For Jotham, MPA’s role within this ecosystem was partly why he was drawn to apply for the MPA Undergraduate Scholarship. “I looked forward to having the chance to be part of such a dynamic and forward-looking organisation, and the countless chances I would have to contribute,” he shares.
Although Jotham has not yet graduated, he’s no stranger to the work that MPA does. As part of the internship opportunities offered through the scholarship, Jotham spent two months with the Hydrographic Department at MPA. Reflecting on the experience which he calls exciting and insightful, Jotham recalls some of his responsibilities during this internship. “I was part of the team responsible for studying the possibility for the East Asia Hydrographic Committee (EAHC) to play a leading role in sharing information in monitoring oceanic climate change indicators like sea level and sea temperature rise. Through my preparation, I learned to appreciate the technical aspects of hydrography and understand the various issues and concerns from different perspectives.”
The internship also gave Jotham the perfect chance to experience first-hand the welcoming culture at MPA. Not only were his colleagues willing to set aside their own time to share their experiences and explain the technical aspects of their work which Jotham was unfamiliar with, they were also accepting of his ideas. “I was given the flexibility to do more on top of what was assigned, and value-add to what I believed were important. Naturally, not all my ideas were accepted, but I was allowed to justify my case and learn why the ideas that were rejected could not be applied,” he tells us.
Sailing Toward New Opportunities
Those interested in being a part of the team that drives Singapore as a leading international maritime centre and global hub port will be excited by the wide scope of job opportunities offered by MPA. To those keen on applying for an MPA scholarship and embarking on their journey, Jotham offers these words of wisdom: “The first and most important step, I believe, is to do your best to identify how you can value add to MPA. Do some research on what MPA has planned, and see what you are interested in, and what your take on the approach is. This will help you understand what line of work suits you best, and where you can best develop.”
Still, it doesn’t have to be all work as Nelson adds, “Try to strike a balance between your studies and life. You might miss out on rare opportunities if you choose to focus more on studies and vice versa. Work hard and play hard. Life skills and professional competency, along with good grades can get you even further as these skill sets combination are highly sought after.”