Speech - Welcome Remarks by Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Community, Culture and Youth, Low Yen Ling at Green Innovation in Marine Decarbonisation Seminar at ITE College Central, 15 June 2022

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  • Publish date:15 Jun 2022

Distinguished speakers, 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Students from ITE and returning students,




  1. A very good morning to all of you. I see that many of you are work-study diploma students, was very happy to catch up with all of you earlier. I am happy to see that many of you are enjoying your workstudy diploma. It is my pleasure to back here at ITE College Central for the Green Innovation in Marine Decarbonisation Seminar. Events like this are important because it provides an important platform and opportunity for different players in the marine and maritime sector, as well as our learning institutions to gather, network and exchange experiences and expertise to build our green future.


  2. Last February, the Government announced the Singapore Green Plan 2030. Allow me to recap what the Green plan is all about.It sets out our goals for sustainable development and lower emissions. The decarbonisation of our Marine and Maritime sectors plays an important role in achieving our green aims. In addition, as a transhipment hub port, Singapore actively supports the reduction of emissions from international shipping. Many may not realise the various opportunities and potential for decarbonisation in the sector.


Innovation is key for the energy transition

  1. Innovation is critical to the success of our global energy transition. Singapore intends to harness emerging low-carbon technology and trial solutions that better enable decarbonisation. Examples of such technology include hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (otherwise known as CCUS). Hydrogen or hydrogen-based fuels such as ammonia can serve as a low-carbon fuel or energy source for the maritime sector. Many of these nascent technologies will require further investments to improve their viability and bring them to market. This is a very exciting space, there will be a lot of innovation, Research, Design and Development (RD&D), technology in this space, that you can consider a career in.


  2. To capture the potential ahead, we are facilitating the development of CCUS technologies through various research, development and demonstration funding initiatives, including the $49m Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative (LCER FI) as part of our Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) plan. DPM Heng had announced that between 2021 and 2025, Singapore Government will set aside $25billion for our RIE plan and part of this includes LCER.


Decarbonisation in Maritime Singapore


  1. As a global hub port and an international maritime centre, Singapore is committed to supporting innovation and R&D (research and development), as well as meaningful collaborations to decarbonise the maritime industry and international shipping. 


  1. Last year, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a memorandum of cooperation with key industry players to establish the Global Maritime Decarbonisation Centre in Singapore. Happy to share with you that this is jointly funded by the public and private sectors, the centre supports the testing and deployment of green solutions and fuels. Since its launch last year, the Centre now has $155 million in funding from the public and private sectors. This is why I earlier spoke about how a career pathway in marine, maritime is exciting, as it intersects with research and innovation possibilities and decarbonisation potential.


  2. Earlier this year, MPA unveiled Singapore’s ambitious and concrete long-term strategies to build a sustainable Maritime Singapore by 2050. We try to crystal ball gaze far ahead, with the support of the private sector, we continue to work with ITE and the various Institutes of Higher Learning to map what are the competencies the private sector would require. This is really to ensure that the curriculum that is delivered to students ensures that they are well equipped, industry relevant and future ready upon graduation. Now, these very exciting, ambitious and concrete long-term strategies that I talked about are developed by MPA in consultation with industry partners, this blueprint charts Singapore’s path to decarbonise the nation’s maritime. This will contribute to the country’s commitments pledged under the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, Paris Agreement and IMO’s Strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.


  3. I am pleased to note that Mr Tan Hoe Soon, Assistant Chief Executive of MPA, will tell us more about the blueprint and how Maritime Singapore is innovating to decarbonise the marine sector.


Decarbonisation in Marine and Offshore Industry


  1. The drive to achieve sustainability also applies to Singapore’s role as a global marine and offshore hub. Our marine and offshore sector meets the global demand for ship repair, rig-building, offshore engineering and the building and chartering of offshore supply vessels. I spent a decade in EDB and I can tell you that the Marine and Offshore sector is a very important for our country’s Gross Domestic Product and strategic sector. We need our own local talent to be involved in this important and strategic sector that is why we have made it a key R&D priority for our Marine and Offshore Engineering sector to enhance its capabilities in the design, building and operation of vessels and platforms in offshore renewable energy and hydrogen-based fuels, which are emerging as new green growth areas. The sector has pressed on and moved into renewables, this ensures that we play a part in the decarbonisation pathway and we will work with the schools to create jobs that will be well-taken up by students.

Efforts to build up capabilities in decarbonisation technologies are already being spearheaded by MNCs and SMEs alike. Last year, Sembcorp Marine, Penguin International and Shell forged a partnership to trial the use of hydrogen fuel cells for ships in Singapore, using one of Penguin’s landing crafts. This has the potential to transform the future of shipping and transportation. Once successful, it can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The sector is therefore, doing its part to contribute to the Paris Agreement. 


Investing in and synergising R&D efforts to support decarbonisation


  1. As I had mentioned earlier, Singapore is investing in R&D in low-carbon energy technologies to develop capabilities and solutions for a future energy grid with a higher level of renewable energy deployment. For example, the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (or TCOMS) and its partners -A*STAR, NUS and NTU - aim to develop digital twins of offshore systems, such as floating offshore wind turbines. In Singapore’s context, while solar would makes sense and wind less so as compared to other countries, in the sea is where we can tap on these wind turbines, hence, floating offshore wind turbines.


  2. Another R&D project by NUS and NTU under the Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative (LCER FI) collaborates with the industry to develop new catalysts that liberate hydrogen from ammonia in a more energy-efficient manner. Such technology can be a game-changer for the economical and efficient transport of hydrogen. We know that be it blue or green hydrogen, it is still some time away from being economically and technologically viable. If we can truly, commercialise the technology to bring this about, in terms of storage and transportation of hydrogen, that would be a breakthrough.


Other Government Initiatives to support Marine Decarbonisation


  1. To attain our green goals, the Government is sparing no effort in our journey with our companies and industry to help them transform their business models, decarbonise and pursue sustainable operations.


    1. Last November, we released the Sustainable Jurong Island report. It outlined exciting plans to transform Jurong Island into a sustainable Energy and Chemicals Park that exports sustainable products to the world. This includes the production of bio-based fuels and synthetic fuels, which are potential low-carbon bunker fuels for the maritime sector.


    2. Also more recently, A*STAR has reorganised its key R&D capabilities into a new Institute of Sustainability for Chemicals, Energy and Environment, (or ISCE2). Happy to have the three ITE colleges work with the ISCE2 to support the various sector as far as decarbonisation, research or technology is concerned. The ISCE2 aims to help industries transit to renewable carbon and green chemistry through research in decarbonisation, green materials and green processes.


    3. In addition, Minister Gan Kim Yong announced last year that S$180 million will be set aside over four years under the Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP) to help local businesses, especially SMEs, build capabilities in sustainability and capture opportunities in the green economy. Furthermore, the ESP will leverage partnerships with the Trade Association & Chambers (TACs) such as the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI) and corporates to support businesses in their sustainability transformation at the enterprise, sectoral and ecosystem levels]. This ESP targets to assist SMEs, SMEs have differing understanding of sustainability. Those who have not quite incorporated sustainability, we would like to invite them for workshops, knowledge sharing and have partners, like Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), PwC and such to curate courses for them and to make sure that it delivers content that is relevant to the sector. Many of the companies in the sector would also know that sustainability is not a cost but a comparative advantage. So many of them have already incorporated sustainability into their business processes, products and services. Not only will they contribute to Singapore’s compliance with the Paris Agreement, and that it would them in the radar with international companies. When I talk to American and European companies, they are reaching a stage, where in order to qualify as their supplier, they would need companies to comply with COP26. For advanced companies, they are prepared to incorporate sustainability into products and services.At the sectoral level, the likes of SSA, ASMI are working with ITEs, polytechnics and corporates to identify the priority areas of the sector and take a multi-year workplan approach to help companies incorporate sustainability into their processes and business model. At the ecosystem level, we need certification, training and financing.


    4. Companies in the marine sector involved in Clean Energy, Circular Economy, Green Infrastructure and Clean Transportation can also tap on Enterprise Singapore’s Enterprise Financing Scheme – Green (EFS-Green) to develop enabling technologies and solutions that reduce waste, and resources use or greenhouse gas emissions. Happy to share that many local companies have tapped on this scheme, Sunseap received $85 million loan, they are known for deploying solar panels and Durapower, which is involved the Energy Storage System space has received about $8million green loan.


  2. The Government is also supporting the greening of our businesses and economy by upskilling and reskilling our workers to meet the growing needs for skills in sustainability.


    1. For instance, Workforce Singapore (WSG) is working with partners such as GCNS and various sectoral agencies on a broad-based Career Conversion Programme (CCP) for Sustainability Professionals. Even as we work with ITE to prepare our students, we are also trying to work with mid-career Singaporeans, who are trying to pivot to this sector.


    2. MAS is setting up centres of excellence for training and research in green financing. Just a suggestion, perhaps in time to come, the curriculum in ITE in marine and maritime sector could have a component on green financing.That would provide a lot of elective possibility and would excite the students.


    3. The Singapore Green Finance Centre (SGFC), a collaboration between SMU (Singapore Management University) and the Imperial College Business School was started last year to deepen capabilities in climate science, financial economics, and sustainable investing.




  1. The future is very bright in the marine and maritime sector. Especially, given how we are future-proofing and supporting the sector to decarbonise. On this note, I would like to commend ITE under the leadership of Ms Low Khah Gek, the principals, lecturers for your hard work in working with the sector and agencies to ensure that the curriculum is future ready and industry relevant. I would like to comment the ITE’s School of Engineering for their efforts in organising this event. The vibrant range of industry players gathered here today is a testament to the promising potential of green innovations, technologies and solutions in the marine sector.


  2. I hope you will continue to explore the wealth of opportunities that await you in this exciting and rewarding green transition.


  3. I wish all of you here a wonderful and constructive morning ahead in this seminar.


  4. Thank you.