MPA and SMF Launch New Circle of HR Innovators Network to Boost Maritime Workforce Transformation

11 November 2019

To drive workforce transformation in the Singapore maritime industry, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) launched the Circle of HR InnOvators (CHRO) network for maritime Human Resource (HR) professionals today at the MSC Connexions Forum 2019, organised by the Maritime Singapore Connect Office, a unit under SMF. Mr Andreas Sohmen- Pao, Chairman of SMF, announced the new CHRO network at the event gathering about 150 attendees from maritime companies, government agencies, industry associations.

2. The CHRO network comprises HR leaders from maritime companies, and aims to boost the role of HR as a strategic partner in driving workforce transformation. Working together, the CHROs can formulate and execute their individual strategic workforce transformation plan and prepare their workforce for enhanced and new job roles that are required in the future.

3. “For Singapore to maintain its lead as a top international maritime centre, the ability to attract, develop and retain talent is crucial. This is where HR plays an important role in helping Singapore maritime companies to build a competitive workforce equipped with necessary skills to address our challenges and opportunities. The CHRO network is created by SMF and MPA for maritime HR leaders to exchange best practices and develop themselves as strategic business partners to drive workforce transformation. While we have just started, the response has been encouraging – we have 18 companies on board so far and will be inviting more companies in the coming months,” said Mr Sohmen-Pao, Chairman of SMF.

4. “We need to respond to a new business normal brought about by digitalisation, decarbonisation and disruption. Under the Sea Transport Industry Transformation map (ITM), maritime innovation to transform business and operations must be done in tandem with maritime workforce transformation. MPA is committed to partnering SMF to support our maritime enterprises on their workforce transformation journey,” said Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA.

5. “As PSA continues to innovate to stay relevant and competitive, preparing our people to be future-ready for the Intelligent Port of the Future in Tuas will be one of our key priorities. The launch of the CHRO network is timely, as it serves as a useful platform for HR professionals to share and learn from each other as we navigate these changes to take the workforce forward in the maritime transformation journey.” shared Ms Evelyn Seah, Assistant Vice President (Workforce Strategy), who represents PSA Corporation in the CHRO network.

6. Ms Ng Hwee Leng, Director, People & Organisation, who represents IMC Industrial Group in the CHRO network, added, “IMC Industrial Group recognises the importance of constantly reviewing our talent acquisition and development strategies to stay competitive amidst the evolving maritime landscape. We are excited to be part of this new network of maritime HR professionals which helps to facilitate sharing of unique challenges and opportunities in driving workforce transformation through roundtable discussions and learning journeys.”

Circle for HR and Digital InnOvators Networks to Converge

7. MPA and SMF will also bring the CHRO and the Circle of Digital InnOvators (CDO) networks together to increase synergy between digitalisation and workforce transformation. The CDO network was launched in April 2019 to bring together digital innovators from maritime enterprises to champion the adoption of technology and innovation. With both networks in place, maritime companies will be better positioned to drive their own business transformation with stronger innovation capabilities and a skilled workforce that supports evolving business needs.

Tackling the Digital Talent Crunch in Maritime

8. Participants at this year’s Forum also heard from Ms Elsie Ng, Head of Talent Solutions – Singapore at LinkedIn. Her keynote session highlighted trends observed from the interplay between digital and talent transformation, insights on the new tech roles created in the maritime space, and ways in which maritime employers could differentiate themselves in attracting talent of diverse profiles to build winning teams.

Maritime C-Suite Discussion on Driving Digital and Workforce Transformation

9. The Forum’s panel this year included Mr Ong Kim Pong, Regional CEO for Southeast Asia, PSA International; Mr Tommy Phun, Director (Business Development), Eng Hup Shipping; Mr Punit Oza, Head of Systems, Processes & Competence, Torvald Klaveness; and Ms Eleana Choy, Chief HR Officer, Thome Group of Companies. The panellists shared about the impact of technology on existing maritime roles and the challenges faced in driving digital transformation. Through the discussion, attendees also gleaned insights on how companies should engage the workforce in the digital transformation journey and better manage the process for continuous business performance and growth.

About the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF)

Established in 2004, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) is a private sector-led organization that aims to develop and promote Singapore as an International Maritime Centre (IMC). As the representative voice for the commercial players of the maritime industry, the Foundation seeks to forge strong partnerships with the public and private sectors of the maritime industry. SMF spearheads initiatives to promote the diverse clusters of the maritime industry in Singapore and at international frontiers, and to attract young talent to join the sector. SMF is directed by its Board of Directors which comprises prominent leaders in the Singapore maritime community. For details, visit

About the Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office

The Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office was set up by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in 2016 to complement efforts by the Sectoral Tripartite Committee for Transport (Sea) to attract more Singaporeans to join the maritime industry, following feedback from the industry. The unit under the Singapore Maritime Foundation works on various fronts to elevate profiling efforts of the maritime industry, connect students and jobseekers to maritime opportunities, and provide Singaporeans with easy access to maritime careers, education and training opportunities. As a central node connecting maritime employers, industry associations, schools and government agencies on all things maritime, the MSC Office offers maritime-related education and career guidance, links the industry with schools for internship and job opportunities, and organises outreach events and publicity campaigns.

For more information, please visit

About the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

MPA was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre, and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore’s port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. 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.

For more information, please visit

Media Contacts

Asia PR Werkz (on behalf of Maritime Singapore Connect Office)
Chua Zhi Hua
Senior Associate
(65) 6812 9805 / 9829 5272
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Tay Hsu Chern
Corporate Communications
(65) 6375 1788
Singapore Maritime Foundation
Corporate Communications Department

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Ms. Angeline Teo


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Ms. Teo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Business Administration.

Mr. John Martin


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