The accelerator programme model is taking off in Singapore, bringing tech startup innovation to the shipping and maritime sectors
Shipmanager Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) has announced a maritime tech accelerator targeted at startups that can bring disruption to the maritime sector in relation to regulations, fuel efficiency, vessel operations, digitalisation and navigation.
Established in collaboration with US-based seed accelerator fund Techstars, EPS announced the programme, officially titled the EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars, in January 2019.
EPS business development manager Gil Ofer said “The merchant maritime industry is one of the oldest in the world, yet advancements in the business come slowly, lagging behind the latest technological trends that other mature industries readily adopt.”
“Eastern Pacific Shipping aims to address this long-standing issue by partnering with Techstars to launch the world’s first global MaritimeTech accelerator to cultivate and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs in an industry that is ripe for disruption.”
The programme will be open to applications from 8 April to 7 July this year and will formally start on 4 November, with a demo day set for 13 February 2020.
Ten companies will be be selected for the inaugural class, which will comprise an intensive three-month programme of research and development, mentorship and collaboration. On the demo day the startups will pitch their ideas to an audience of venture capitalists, corporate innovation leaders and industry experts.
Elsewhere in the startup incubation and acceleration space, CMA CGM’s venture capital arm ZeBox and PSA’s external innovation and corporate venture capital arm PSA Unboxed are working together to jointly drive digitalisation and innovation in the shipping and supply chain ecosystem.
ZeBox focuses on technological areas such as blockchain and cyber security, virtual and enhanced reality, artificial intelligence, internet of things and robotics, with an emphasis on applications for shipping.
PSA Unboxed’s mission is to identify and enable startups that can aid in moving toward what it calls Container Port 4.0, which it describes as “an intelligent container port enabled by smart real-time connectivity and embedded within the larger supply chain, driving synchronised co-ordination among all stakeholders.”
The agreement will see the two companies work together to share resources to support mutual growth, as well as leveraging each other’s industry knowledge and experience in their respective fields of shipping and supply chain management to produce problem statements and to testbed ideas in response to these. They will also work to support each other’s mentorship programmes by providing experienced mentors to startups they are investing in. ZeBox will open a satellite office in PSA Unboxed’s Singapore premsises.
CMA CGM Group chairman and chief executive Rodolphe Saadé said “Through this collaboration, we will mentor startups and offer them access to key knowledge and expertise, so that they are well-placed to succeed.
“This partnership will accelerate our digital strategy to achieve better customer experience and operational efficiency.”
PSA International group chief executive Tan Chong Meng said “Logistics is a team sport, and PSA and CMA CGM have different and yet complementary strengths in the global supply chain.
“This technological collaboration will add depth and diversity to our respective innovation efforts, as we seek to co-create meaningful and impactful solutions in the face of technological disruptions and changing customer needs.”
The signing of the MoU follows successful collaboration between parent groups CMA CGM Group and PSA International on other projects such as the CMA CGM-PSA Lion Terminal in Singapore.