Digitalising the Future of Maritime with SSA

In the global push towards technology and digitalisation, how is Singapore’s maritime industry staying ahead of the game? Mr. TS Teo, Chairman of the Digital Transformation Committee at the Singapore Shipping Association’s (SSA) shares his perspectives on this pertinent topic.

Mr T S Teo, Chairman of the Digital Transformation Committee, SSA

SSA’s Efforts to Promote Digital Adoption among Member Companies

Formed in 1985, the SSA is a national trade association that aims to promote the interests of its members in the maritime industry and enhance the competitiveness of Singapore as an International Maritime Centre. Mr. Teo shares SSA’s aspirations for Singapore’s maritime industry and the programmes they have embarked on to reach these goals.


What does SSA hope to see in terms of the digitalisation of the industry?

We would like to see maritime companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), raise the level of digital adoption. We welcome the exploration of B2C platforms that further drives digitalisation in the industry.  We also support startups to work with maritime stakeholders to drive innovation.


What are some initiatives that SSA has rolled out to promote digital adoption in the industry?

To encourage digitalisation within maritime SMEs, SSA launched the Digital Vision & Sustainability Programme (DVSP) in 2020. As part of DVSP, a programme to facilitate digitalisation of SMEs was introduced in 2021. DVSP is designed to help companies develop and execute bespoke digitalisation blueprints.

A sustainability workshop, titled ‘Operating a sustainable shipping business’, conducted in May 2022 as an initiative under the DSVP.

This year, together with PSA Corporation, Jurong Port Private Limited, Singapore Maritime Foundation, the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), SSA joined the Maritime Industry Transformation Tripartite Committee (MITTC) which will oversee the effort to facilitate digitalisation of SMEs.

Homing in on SSA’s Digital Transformation Committee

What are some ways that the committee has been able to help SSA’s member companies in their digitalisation journey?

SSA’s Digitalisation Transformation Committee (DTC) engages with relevant government agencies such as MPA and other relevant stakeholders to develop a programme to help SMEs realize their digital aspirations. Through such programmes undertaken by SSA, our members will gain access to resources such as the CTOs as a Service (CTOaas) offered by IMDA. Guided by DTC, CTOaas provides advisory services to identify and implement digital initiatives for the SMEs.


Collectively, what kind of impact does SSA hope the committee’s work will have on the maritime ecosystem in Singapore?

We must recognize that digital transformation is an ongoing journey.  Behind every digital champion is a village of enablers and solution providers. It is important that as a maritime community, we sustain the curiosity, interest and commitment of our maritime companies towards this endeavor. In a way, the work of the DTC enables this. By exchanging perspectives and challenging the status quo with stakeholders, we create a vibrant community of change. In addition, we aim to nurture our future leaders through training and inculcating a growth mindset.


Are there any new initiatives that the industry can look forward to in the next 6-12 months?

We are gaining traction with the DSVP programme.  We remain focused on scaling the adoption phase to move the needle on the industry’s state of digital transformation. Peer sharing and encouragement is useful in this context, hence we plan to engage more SMEs and key maritime stakeholders who have undergone, or are undergoing, digital transformation to talk about their experiences at Tech Talk Thursdays under this programme.

Tech and Demo Day 2020
Tech and Demo Day 2021

Digitalisation Trends in Maritime Singapore

What is your assessment on the state of digital adoption across the maritime industry in Singapore?

Most of us in the maritime community agree that we are behind in the state of digital maturity.  At the same time, digitalisation all around us is picking up pace. The work of the DTC must continue, so we can collectively uplift digital adoption to stay relevant and resilient.


What kind of challenges or initial reservations do you envisage maritime companies face with the adoption of digital and technological solutions? How can these challenges be addressed?

Not knowing where and how to start. Not having the appropriate resources to start.  Not realizing the urgency to digitalise. 

Transformation can be a daunting word.  Yet it is a word that cannot be avoided.  It starts with the realization of the need to transform. Sometimes it takes maritime companies to realise that they share common pain points and solutions can be aggregated for faster adoption or scalability. This is why we started Tech Talk Thursdays, a webinar series for member companies from different sectors with varying business needs to come together and exchange experiences of their digital transformation journeys.

Tech Talk Thursdays Webinar on Pain Points and Digitalisation Gaps
Tech Talk Thursdays Webinar on Disruption, Digital Transformation & Leadership

The Future of Digitalisation and Beyond

Digitalisation in maritime aims to improve productivity and operational efficiency while potentially reducing costs. Do you think that digital or technological initiatives and solutions are able to tackle other big themes in maritime such as decarbonisation, sustainability and cyber security?

I am not sure about tackling. It certainly can be an effective tool in some instances, but I would see them all as interlinked issues. Let me give you an example. Maritime businesses may leverage on digital tools such as sensors, to measure and record carbon emissions. And the ability to measure your carbon emissions is going to be crucial for managing it well.

You might wonder if there are any downsides to digitalisation, and the short answer is yes. The more interconnected and digitized enterprise systems onshore are, as well as with shipboard systems, the more vulnerable we will be to cyber breaches. There is a need to raise awareness and to raise the cybersecurity readiness of maritime companies.  At DTC, we set up a cybersecurity sub-committee to look into helping our members and the maritime industry at large to be more ready on this front.


How do you see the maritime landscape shifting in the next 5 to 10 years with the advent of new digital and technological solutions?

The pandemic has shown us that the maritime industry must continue to embrace digitization to overcome any disruption to its operations so as to remain resilient. The next frontier for maritime digitalization and technologies will be looking at how it can contribute towards a low to zero carbon maritime future, while allowing companies to remain efficient.

Ship owners and managers are for instance looking at how data analytics and digital twining technologies can work with ongoing technical and operational vessel management to improve a fleet’s carbon emissions and performance. On demand, 3D printing of marine spare parts is set to improve efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of maritime supply chains.

The success of Maritime Singapore’s digital transformation journey will depend on our ability to develop talents within our industry and to attract talent from outside of the industry who can bring in the much-needed digital skillset. I am happy to note that SMF spearheads programmes in this regard. I would also add that to complement this, we need to encourage those of us who are already in the industry to embrace a ‘forward looking’ mindset and actively scan the horizon for digitalisation trends and acquire relevant digital skills.

All photo credits to Singapore Shipping Association.


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Mr. Lars Kastrup


Mr. Lars Kastrup is the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd (PIL).

Prior to joining PIL, Mr. Kastrup was CEO of NOL/APL, and subsequently assumed the role of Executive Vice President, Strategy and M&A at CMA CGM Group. A veteran in the global shipping industry with over 30 years of experience, Mr Kastrup’s other roles include Executive Vice President of Assets at CMA CGM Group heading up CMA Terminals, CMA Ships, Container Logistics as well as regional carriers such as MacAndrews, OPDR and Mercosul; as well as Vice President at AP Moller-Maersk.
Mr. Kastrup complemented his tertiary education with leadership and management training at Penn State University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Angeline Teo


Ms. Angeline Teo is the Managing Director and Head of Global Transportation and Offshore, Global Corporate Banking at OCBC Bank which focuses on the maritime, aviation, land & port ecosystems.
Ms. Teo has spent over three decades in maritime finance. Prior to OCBC, Ms. Teo was working at ING Bank, ABN Amro and DnB in Singapore focusing on maritime and offshore.
Ms. Teo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Business Administration.

Mr. John Martin


Mr. John Martin began his career in London in 1989 with Richards Hogg Lindley Average Adjusters, and qualified as a Fellow of the UK Association of Average Adjusters in 2000.
At RHL he worked in their offices in Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2003 he joined Gard Hong Kong, as a claims handler. Mr. Martin also worked in Gard Japan, and in 2014 he moved to Singapore to set up the Gard Singapore office.
Besides running Gard Singapore, Mr. Martin also heads the P&I and H&M claims units and is the Senior Claims Representative for Gard in Asia.

Mr. Cyril Ducau


Mr. Cyril Ducau is the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte Ltd, a leading shipping company headquartered in Singapore for the past 30 years.

He is also currently the Chairman of Kenon Holdings Ltd and a member of the board of directors of Gard P&I (Bermuda) Ltd. and of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation Limited, which was established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. He was previously Head of Business Development of Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited in London from 2008 to 2012 and acted as Director and Chairman of Pacific Drilling SA between 2011 and 2018.
Prior to joining Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited, Mr. Ducau was Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co. International Ltd. in London between 2000 and 2008.
Mr. Ducau graduated from ESCP Europe Business School (Paris, Oxford, Berlin) and holds a Master of Science in business administration and a Diplom Kaufmann.