Kuok Singapore and Schulte Group are among six companies pumping SGD 50m ($35.8m) into maritime start-ups as part of a new effort in Singapore.

SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore (ESG), is leading an initiative that will reportedly benefit more than 50 domestic start-ups, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said.

In addition to Bernhard Schulte corporate venture capital unit Innoport and Kuok Singapore’s KSL Maritime Ventures, the other firms in the effort are PSA unboXed, Rainmaking, ShipsFocus-Quest Ventures and TecPier.

SEEDS Capital and the appointed partners will “invest in early-stage maritime technology start-ups to develop innovative and sustainable solutions that improve operational efficiency and safety across the different segments of the maritime sector”.

The partners will reportedly provide hands-on assistance in helping early-stage start-ups to “fast-track commercialisation, with mentorship and connection to potential clients through their networks”.

“Strengthening the capability of the sector will in turn enhance the resilience of key economic pillars such as the logistics, manufacturing, and wholesale trade sectors, which are reliant on smooth and efficient global supply chain routes,” ESG said.

To nurture start-ups and spur innovation in maritime technology, Innoport will allow start-ups to run pilot tests with Schulte’s business units, while PSA unboXed could deploy potential solutions in PSA International’s global terminal operations.

KSL Maritime Ventures will focus on renewables, fintech and vessel technologies, while Rainmaking aims to accelerate the adoption rate of solutions focusing on decarbonisation, supply chain resilience and artificial intelligence (AI).

ShipsFocus-Quest Ventures will work with start-ups to focus on solutions in digitalisation, sustainability and deeptech for maritime commerce. TecPier aims to improve efficiency and transparency in areas such as ship operations and maintenance, port management, and supply chains.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted many business operations and global supply chains,” said Tan Beng Tee, MPA’s assistant chief executive for development.

“Maritime technology start-ups will play an important role in accelerating digitalisation and innovation efforts to prepare the maritime industry for a new normal. The combined resources of the six co-investment partners will help catalyse these efforts.”