In 2024, These Skillsets Will Help You Thrive in Maritime Singapore.

Find out why artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, sustainability, and agile methods are some of the in-demand skills for the maritime industry in 2024.

Singapore’s maritime sector remains resilient even as the world faces an uncertain year. But equipped with the right skills, maritime students, professionals, and mid-career switchers could be well-positioned to seize these prospects. 

Minister of Transport Mr Chee Hong Tat at the opening of SMF New Year Conversations 2024.

After all, industry transformation and talent development will be needed to secure maritime’s long-term growth and success, said Minister of Transport Mr Chee Hong Tat at the opening of the Singapore Maritime Foundation New Year Conversations 2024 (NYC 2024), the first large-scale industry event of each year.

At the event, a panel of leaders from maritime’s public and private sectors –comprising SMF’s past and present Chairmen and the Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore who is also an SMF Board member– discussed issues of strategic interest to the industry as the world navigates an inflection point. We recap some insights they shared as well as the skills required for maritime to chart forward into the future.

Artificial Intelligence – Programming and Creativity 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already used to enhance port communication, improve port management, and automate launch boat services today. When it comes to using AI, Singapore’s maritime sector is not resting on its laurels.

Today, AI is already being used to help maritime’s workers accelerate their operations in areas like port management and launch boat services.

Panellist and BW Group’s Chairman Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao shared an example of an internal project to build an AI assistant that analyses patterns and trends across the organisation and supports sense-making so that employees can make more informed decisions.

In Picture: BW Group Chairman Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao

“It’s a neural network that understands everything happening in a shipping company, in a way that no human could understand…it’s scary, but so powerful,” Mr Sohmen-Pao said. 

To help build innovative AI solutions in maritime companies, talents who have programming, creative thinking, and machine learning skills could be sought after.

Harnessing technologies like AI will require collaboration skills across different domains and generations. This was echoed by panellist Mr Teo Eng Dih, the Chief Executive of the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), who highlighted how multi-generational expertise and knowledge has been crucial in building MPA’s new vessel management digital system.

In Picture: Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore Chief Executive Mr Teo Eng Dih

Mr. Teo said: “Many of them (workers) are at retirement age, or waiting to retire. But they are staying on to give valuable guidance on the system’s design and looking at safety.”

Data Science and Cybersecurity 

Singapore’s maritime industry already uses statistics, programming, database management, and data visualisation skills to improve port safety and monitor carbon emissions. Moving forward, these data science skills will remain relevant.

Dry Bulk Analyst Mr Cheng Zheng Yang is one such professional who draws on data science skills today to find innovative maritime business solutions.

Mr Sohmen-Pao highlighted data science’s importance, calling for more “technology skillsets to assimilate the massive amounts of information” in maritime.  Another skillset that is gaining prominence is cybersecurity, according to panellist Mr Hor Weng Yew, who is also SMF’s chairman.

In Picture: SMF Chairman and Pacific Carriers Limited CEO Mr Hor Weng Yew.

“How do we ensure we have the right tools and guardrails in place?” added Mr Hor. “If we find a way to do so, we will contribute to Singapore’s edge. We have to make sure our information technology systems and infrastructure remain connected, with cybersecurity playing a huge role.”

To ensure the secure handling of massive amounts of data being used today, cybersecurity professionals with skills like network security and risk management could also find a home in Singapore’s maritime industry.

Sustainability – Management and Engineering 

The local maritime industry has ambitious decarbonisation goals, such as reaching net zero carbon emissions in ports by 2050. Maritime decarbonisation is a necessary but challenging journey as some of the panellists highlighted the presence of fossil fuels in our daily lives and the industry.

Sustainability skill sets will be in demand as maritime businesses find ways to bridge decarbonisation goals with business objectives.

People who can bridge the industry’s business needs with sustainability goals to navigate this complexity will be in demand. Related skill sets such as green shipping, carbon accounting, along with sustainability maritime policy and law will be relevant, as the sector intensifies its sustainability agenda in areas like shipping fuels.

In Picture: Mr Michael Chia, Managing Consultant of Impact Energy LLP

Mr Chia, Managing Consultant of Impact Energy LLP, said: “Today, oil companies and oil producing companies are pressured and conscious to do their part for a greener environment…Some of these companies have moved into offshore winds and have introduced projects with carbon capture and storage. There’s definitely also a push for alternative fuels like methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen.”

Agility and Problem Solving 

The maritime sector, as an industry deeply intertwined with the world, will be facing many ups and downs in 2024.

“Geopolitics seems to determine everything now, from trade (volume) to shipping routes,” said Mr Hor.

“In the past 50 years, we’ve seen how oil prices have affected the industry,” added Mr Chia. It’s subject to factors like supply and demand, and also to global trade tensions. There’s no way to avoid it.”

Maritime companies will have to be agile and calm in the way they respond to the year’s unpredictable events, said the panel.

Maritime businesses will benefit from professionals who can react quickly to change, which is why soft skills like agile methodologies and problem solving could be in demand. Bringing a nimble and collaborative approach towards challenges, these workers can guide maritime businesses towards adopting sharper corporate strategies and innovative technologies to stay competitive.

In picture: Pacific International Lines Executive Chairman Mr Teo Siong Seng

“Things are going to happen that we don’t expect…it all depends on how fast you react, and how calm you are,” said Pacific International Lines Executive Chairman Mr Teo Siong Seng.

“You have to stay focused and make sure each company can work calmly and closely together and efficiently. So when we have a crisis, we can handle it with the support of the authorities like the MPA and the Ministry of Transport.”

Thriving With Opportunities in 2024 

In short, AI, data science, and cybersecurity skillsets could be in demand as maritime continues with its digital transformation journey. Maritime businesses will also value sustainability skillsets as the industry doubles down on its net zero targets. Last but not least, agile methodologies and problem-solving skills could be beneficial to tackling the year’s uncertainty.

With these skillsets, you’ll be one step closer to thriving in your Maritime Singapore career journey this year.  If you’re not from maritime, and the above sounds like you, consider a maritime career today.

Check out the opportunities here!


Inaugural MSC Maritime Digital Challenge Grand Finals Prize Presentation

Over 129 tertiary students across 35 teams took part in the inaugural MSC Maritime Digital Challenge that seeks to plug Singapore students with a passion for technology into the maritime industry.
Students from the Singapore Management University and Nanyang Polytechnic were announced as winners of the challenges posed by Eastport Maritime, Kanda and Torvald Klaveness at the Prize Presentation held on 13 November 2021.

MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021

Three challenge statements, 35 teams, 129 students and 12 finalist teams from 4 universities & 3 polytechnics. Catch behind-the-scene highlights of the MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021.

Singapore Maritime Foundation | MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021

Catch highlights of the MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021. We thank Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport Mr. Chee Hong Tat for being our Guest-of-Honour at the event.

SMF New Year Conversations 2022: Year-in-Perspective Video

The past two years of learning to live with Covid-19 has been challenging, but Maritime Singapore has remained resilient. What are the fundamental tenets that attract companies to anchor their business in Singapore and grow their operations here? And what more can be done to leverage on Singapore’s strengths to enhance its attractiveness as a global business hub for maritime companies? How will the Singapore Maritime Foundation organize its work around Connectivity, Innovation and Talent to strengthen the maritime ecosystem? Find out in this Year-in-Perspective video.

SMF New Year Conversations 2022: Opportunities Amid Disruptions

The 2022 SMF New Year Conversations that took place on 13 January 2022 was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations. Over 250 industry leaders across the breadth of maritime attended physically and virtually.
Singapore was announced to have secured the overall top spot as an international maritime centre for the fifth consecutive time in the DNV-Menon Leading Maritime Cities 2022 report.
Thank you to our industry partners for your strong support.

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.