Aug 23, 2021

BCG and MISC Berhad to fund Singaporean shipping startups

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Boston Consulting Group makes deal to collaborate with Malaysian MISC Berhad as the companies team up to kickstart Singaporean shipping startup revolution

The partnership between Boston Consulting Group’s (BSC) branch for digital innovation and Malaysia’s MISC Berhad promises the shipping industry with novel transformation and much-needed modernisation. Investing an undisclosed amount in SOL-X, Chord X, and Spares CNX - three Singaporean shipping startups - the companies hope to stimulate an increase in business and product development, employment, and target market acquisition. 

Increased efficiency and reduced emissions among reasons for industry investment 

Sustainability, improved efficiency, and enhanced accuracy are just some of the reasons the partners have decided to invest in the shipping industry. Often overlooked, the sector is responsible for around 90% of world trade and, as a result, contributes approximately 1.48bn m/t of carbon dioxide annually. So, understandably, the need to streamline the industry’s operations, along with ensuring its appeal by maintaining relatively low costs, is dire. 

Sid Shah, Managing Director and Global Leader of BCG’s Digital Ventures Energy Practice, is confident that the deal closed earlier this year has the potential to “[disrupt] the shipping industry.”

“These three separate startups differ in their approach, yet together they powerfully demonstrate the transformational power of strategically applying digital and deep-tech-like AI, ML, and IIoT to create massive operational efficiencies across the shipping value chain in a way that has never been done before.

“The ventures will be key drivers for the smart ship, which leverages automation and assistive technologies to ensure safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability.

“With 90% of the world’s goods transported by ships, and considering the fragmented attempts at innovation, we believe these investments are going to be absolutely transformative to the maritime industry.”

What are the shipping startups, and why are they worthy of investment?

SOL-X

  • Developing an industry-first Safety 4.0 company focused on human factors
  • Improving safety and compliance outcomes through digital transformations, knowledge of the industry, IIoT, and predictive AI
  • Enhancing operational efficiency

SOL-X’s defining solution, SAFEVUE.ai, hopes to deliver immediate, real-time safety intelligence. Roughly two-thirds of maritime incidents are caused by avoidable human error, so SOL-X hopes that by procuring the necessary tech and data, it can make essential progress to lower this statistic. 

Chord X

  • Using sensors, data analytics, machine learning, and experts in the field to advance ship management
  • Aiming to achieve increased productivity in operations and decrease emissions in maritime assets
  • Maintaining the high-quality performance of equipment assets by providing predictive insights for customers to allow for instant and accurate corrections
  • Measuring the emission footprint of assets to enable essential management of carbon tax

The business is targeting expanding its capabilities to better provide its customers with valuable insights to monitor and adjust their operations in an effort to decrease their carbon emissions. Chord X wants to ensure low operating costs, high levels of customer satisfaction, and a cleaner industry for a more sustainable future. 

Spares CNX

  • Supplying customers with automated inventory to monitor the life cycle of spare parts both on and off land
  • Providing oversight on the location and the use of spares
  • Awarding accurate and reliable information to its customers at the exact time and location of work simultaneously with data to existing ERP and PMS systems

Its AI analytics platform, PROPELLER Shore, endeavours to provide procurement officers with insights and advice to enhance their stock and forward bulk procurement capabilities. Spares CNX ventures to limit the inaccuracies associated with inventories that result in higher global shipping costs of around US$2bn every year. 

Each company brings something different but equally as valuable to the shipping industry. From sustainability, increased efficiency, reduced waste and more streamlined process innovation, the investment provided by BCG and MISC Berhad looks set to shift the shipping industry for the better. 

“The global Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink our approaches and operational practices,” says President and Group CEO of MISC Berhad, Yee Yang Chien. “We must be bold in exploring opportunities to further improve operational excellence in various areas, including safety and process efficiency.

“I am confident about the prospects that the three digital ventures offer."

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