Navigating the International Waters of the Maritime Industry

Scholarship Guide MPA Scholar Tan Chong Yuan

The MPA continually seeks to upgrade our nation’s capabilities as a leading maritime hub. A forward-looking and eager learner, MPA Scholar Tan Chong Yuan fits well in the ever-evolving industry.

What Were Some of the Memorable Encounters During Your Internship at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), and Why Are They Memorable?

The fondest takeaway from my eight-week-long internship at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) came from working under the Corporate Planning Division. Like a cog that makes the machine function, the Planning Division helps to align divisional work plans with MPA’s strategic thrusts.

I interned at the Corporate Planning Division over the summer, assisting the small dedicated team with the planning and execution of the annual Management Advance, an off-site for cross-divisional discussion of respective divisions’ strategic challenges, with the aim of cultivating inter-organisational synergy. Franklin’s famous adage, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” captures the essence of the emphasis Corporate Planning places on annual work plan exercises and quarterly divisional performance reviews.

I learned that understanding the purpose of and the end objectives of a task improves the clarity of thought. As mundane as the annual work plan exercise may seem, it effectively nudges divisions to ponder on recent achievements and create near-term blueprints of tangible deliverables with quantifiable performance linked to MPA’s strategic KPIs.

MPA never rests on its laurels and continually reinvents processes to finetune best practices to sustain a competitive edge. Singapore continually coming out on top in international port rankings is a testament to the world-class regulatory standards MPA upholds, cementing Singapore’s status as an international maritime hub.

Besides strategic organisational works, Planning Division conducts scans on how global developments impact Maritime Singapore. I was privileged to sit in and value-add to a revision session of a joint study between MPA’s Futures and Strategic Planning Department and NTU’s Maritime Studies Programme. This reflects MPA’s vested interest in developing maritime expertise in the local institutes of higher education.

I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at the Planning Division and learned so much more about MPA’s organisational work beyond its port regulatory role. Witnessing MPA’s dynamism during my summer internship, I am excited to see the substantial progress MPA makes towards establishing Singapore as a premier global hub port.

Why the MPA Scholarship?

The world witnessed an evolution from mercantilists hoarding precious metal and opposing free trade to the expansion of global supply chain and trade liberalisation. Apart from Singapore’s geographical lottery to be an ideal port hub, I have always been intrigued by the defining factors that establish Singapore as a world-renowned logistics hub.

I have witnessed the numerous yard cranes that dot the city port terminal dwindle in recent years, part of MPA’s Next Generation Port 2030 (NGP 2030) initiative to consolidate port activities and to expand port operation capacity at the Tuas Terminal, in the process also freeing up prime waterfront land for economic developments. This observation made me realise that one possible reason for Singapore’s competitive edge in transhipment and port trade is the port authority’s unwavering commitment to improvement.

Blending my interest in economics with work at MPA excites me. The volatility and competitiveness of sea freight make working at MPA challenging. The cross-disciplinary nature of work which weaves in aspects of international relations, foreign affairs, employment and incentives to foreign carriers piques my interest to learn and to appreciate the different facets involved in every task. I am extremely excited and motivated to be part of the several initiatives lined up till 2030 to make Maritime Singapore more robust.

MPA Overseas Scholarship
Now: University College London, Economics
From: River Valley High School

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