Singapore Maritime Foundation
Feature | SMF

Purposeful Industry, Passionate People

Established in 2004, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) has a twin mission to advance Singapore as an International Maritime Centre and to nurture a talent pipeline for the industry. To accomplish this, SMF works closely with maritime companies to develop promising young talent, such as MaritimeONE Scholars Aario Chia Jing and May Thandar Hinn.

Left: May Thandar Hinn is a student studying a Bachelor of Computing in Computer Science (Hons) at NUS under the Jurong Port — MaritimeONE Scholarship. She will be graduating in 2026.

Right: Aario Chia Jing is currently studying a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Maritime Studies with a Second Major in Business at NTU. He is currently undertaking the PIL — MaritimeONE Scholarship. He will be graduating in 2025.

Recognising that the maritime industry is on the cusp of a major transformation, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) works closely with the Singapore government, industry and unions to attract, engage and grow a talent pool to meet the sector’s manpower needs.

The MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme is a key initiative spearheaded by SMF to nurture talent for the industry. Sponsored by maritime companies, tertiary institutions and organisations, the scholarships are disbursed annually to tertiary students across a diverse range of disciplines who wish to embark on a career in maritime.

Aario Chia Jing, a Pacific International Lines (PIL) — MaritimeONE Scholarship recipient, believes that the programme’s networking opportunities give him an invaluable head start on his maritime journey. In addition to the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Maritime Studies, Aario has also opted for a second major in Business, both at NTU, to better supplement his education. Aario’s passion is in the maritime industry, and he was inspired by the global role that the industry plays.

May Thandar Hinn, a Jurong Port — MaritimeONE Scholarship recipient, appreciates the freedom to pursue her interests while concurrently contributing to the industry. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Computing in Computer Science (Hons) at National University of Singapore. She aims to use her passion to contribute to the maritime industry’s digitisation.

What are your passions and how were you inspired on this career path?

Aario: My passion for the maritime industry stemmed from my first part-time job working for an apparel company. Watching containers come and go across the world amazed me as I started to comprehend the sheer scale of port operations and equipment. Working there opened my eyes to the tireless work that goes on behind the scenes. I was also inspired by the sector’s crucial role as the backbone of world trade by connecting supply chains around the globe and wanted to be someone who makes a difference in this ever-evolving industry.

May: Interestingly, Computer Science was not my top pick as I was intimidated by the rigor of the course for which I had no prior experience. However, I realised that, for one to be proficient at developing and designing software, problem-solving skills play an integral role in building these technical competencies. As a data-driven, analytical individual with a strong background in mathematics and sciences, I believe that my personality is a perfect fit for computer science. I eventually took a leap of faith by applying to study computer science and the rest, as you know, is history.

May Thandar Hinn

May Thandar Hinn

What made you choose to pursue the MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme?

Aario: The MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme differs from other scholarships as it provides exclusive opportunities for us to attend networking events and meet industry veterans who can impart valuable insights from their respective fields.

Besides knowledge-sharing sessions and networking opportunities, the MaritimeONE scholars can also connect over various events organised by the programme to discuss the future of the maritime sector. I find it very encouraging to hear from like-minded peers on how we can contribute to the resilient growth of Singapore’s maritime ecosystem, so our country continues to remain globally competitive and future ready.

May: The MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme is not limited to maritime-related studies. Unlike other scholarships, it offers me freedom to pursue my interests while leveraging my expertise in digital technology to tackle real-world challenges faced by the industry. The scholarship has also broadened my perspectives by exposing me to the diverse subsectors of Maritime Singapore through internships. By speaking with stakeholders across industry segments, I now understand how different roles come together to sustain and strengthen Singapore’s global hub port.

The maritime industry has been advancing rapidly through digitalisation in recent years and I am more certain than ever of my position in accelerating this change by designing and implementing digitally-inclusive solutions.

“The maritime industry has been advancing rapidly through digitalisation in recent years, which intrigued me as I wanted to make changes there to help others and give back to the industry and its people.” May Thandar Hinn

Could you tell us more about the degree programmes that you are currently pursuing and how it prepares you for a future in the Maritime industry?

Aario: I chose to study at NTU as it offers a Maritime Studies degree programme that allows me to explore my primary interest in the maritime industry, such as marine technology and shipping economics. I am also able to gain a better understanding of how businesses are run, giving me a more holistic view of the maritime industry. Moreover, NTU Maritime Studies students can participate in overseas exchange programmes to partner universities that offer maritime courses. As I was excited to learn about international trade, the fact that I could opt for a specialisation in International Trading was another huge factor that pushed me to apply for this course.

Along with my Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Maritime Studies, I also chose a second major in Business. In addition to providing a more well-rounded education, having a business background further enhances what I currently know about shipping business and management.

As part of an international industry, my biggest takeaway from the MaritimeONE scholarship would be collaborating with both peers and industry experts who hail from different parts of the globe. I believe these cross-cultural experiences have inculcated in me a global mindset and stronger interpersonal communication skills.

May: While NUS’ Computer Science curriculum is rigorous and challenging, I believe I have grown immensely in terms of my ability to think creatively to push the boundaries of problem solving, sometimes through unorthodox approaches. While balancing work and rest can be stressful at times, it is assuring to know that I have the unwavering support of my family and loved ones.

As we approach the intersection of digitalisation and sustainability, there are calls for the industry to ramp up decarbonisation efforts and tackle supply chain-related challenges. Against the backdrop of these existing and future industry needs, I hope to use what I have learnt to develop targeted digital solutions to improve on maritime services and logistics operations.

Aario Chia Jing

Aario Chia Jing

How has the MaritimeONE scholarship supported your studies?

Aario: The hands-on internship opportunities complement my studies by allowing me to put the theoretical concepts from the classroom into practice. I was able to venture further into the industry by working on actual projects under the close mentorship of superiors. This scholarship represents an extraordinary learning experience for me and I hope to gain more industry exposure throughout the course of my scholarship.

May: For me, conviction is the key to success, especially as I carve out a career in such a vast, fast-paced industry. The internships offered by the MaritimeONE scholarship programme have equipped me with practical skills and experience, granting me the confidence that I possess the right aptitude and attitude for my future roles in maritime. I am also constantly motivated by my peers in the programme who have demonstrated excellence in their respective courses. Hearing about their aspirations for the industry’s development has inspired me to imagine a bold future for maritime, one where I can open up new pathways for new value creation.

“Working and learning to work with people around the world efficiently as a team is a unique experience, and it would be my biggest takeaway from my education so far.” Aario Chia Jing

Sounds like this scholarship will be advantageous for your careers. Speaking of which, what are your career goals?

Aario: I envision myself as a leader and problem solver. It would be my dream to be part of a team that prioritises healthy, long-lasting relationships, while remaining effective at meeting end goals by achieving milestone successes.

I also wish to be seen as a strong colleague and individual who is a joy to work with. Working together in a team may have its own challenges, but I firmly believe that “teamwork makes the dream work”. It is the same way for shipping – it is never one-man show, but the single-minded resolve of many that moves the industry.

May: I hope to innovate and create systems or processes that can help others and gain work and life skills. Specifically, I wish to digitalise and automate port operations and shipping as such projects could help improve port safety too. I believe the skills I will gain from my education can be useful in such areas.

Ultimately, I aspire to further my studies and attain a PhD. I believe that post-graduate studies can elevate my knowledge in programming, hardware and even project management so I can take on job roles that deliver greater impact, to enact positive change within the maritime community.