Business

Industry transformation roadmap aimed at creating 1,500 jobs by 2025

EDB draws up industry transformation roadmap

Singapore can stay a major player in the global marine and offshore engineering industry despite the recent downturn in the sector.

That was the key message from an industry transformation roadmap drawn up by a team led by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

It is aimed at generating about $5.8 billion of value-add and creating 1,500 jobs by 2025.

Mr S. Iswaran, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), said yesterday that Singapore is still drawing a significant economic contribution from the industry despite headwinds from a multi-year downturn.

The sector accounted for $3.6 billion, or 1 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product and employed more than 23,000 locals in 2016.

The industry has also grown from its humble beginnings of just four domestic marine firms to one anchored by homegrown giants like Keppel Offshore & Marine and Sembcorp Marine and backed by over 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr Iswaran acknowledged that the past three years have been "difficult" for the industry. The Government has stepped in with two schemes - Spring Singapore's Bridging Loan and International Enterprise Singapore's enhanced Internationalisation Finance Scheme - to help companies battle a liquidity crunch.

THRIVE, NOT JUST SURVIVE

The issue for the industry is how to thrive, and not just survive.

The key to ensuring that it stays ahead lies in diversification into new growth areas, as traditional core businesses such as rig-building can no longer anchor its revenue stream.

The transformation roadmap identified the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and offshore renewables as two new growth areas.

Mr Iswaran said global expenditure on LNG is projected to exceed US$280 million (S$369m) by 2021 while global offshore wind market is expected to surge past US$130 billion by 2023.

He noted that Keppel and SembMarine have already ventured into the LNG segment.

Mr Iswaran also urged the industry to embrace digitalisation and tap on data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve operational efficiency and create new revenue streams.

The government has invested $107 million to set up the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore to integrate public research and industry expertise to develop innovative concepts and infrastructure for marine and offshore operations.

As the industry transforms, so must the workforce. SkillsFuture Singapore, Workforce Singapore (WSG), EDB and Spring Singapore have launched the Skills Framework for Marine and Offshore, which charts seven career tracks.

WSG has also rolled out three Professional Conversion Programmes, which with the Association of Singapore Marine Industries as programme manager, has helped reskill more than 300 mid-career professionals .

BUSINESS & FINANCE