Skyports, ST Engineering and Sumitomo team up for shore-to-ship parcel delivery

Each consortium member will leverage their operational and technological skills to expand the usage of autonomous UA for maritime necessities deliveries to vessels at anchorage.

The consortium will engage major clients for marine UA deliveries over a nine-month pilot phase
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The consortium will engage major clients for marine UA deliveries over a nine-month pilot phase

Skyports, Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering), a global technology, defence and engineering group, and Sumitomo Corporation, a leading global trading and business investment company, have formed a consortium to provide UA services for shore-to-ship parcel delivery in Singapore.

Each consortium member will leverage their respective operational and technological skills to expand the usage of autonomous UA for maritime necessities deliveries to vessels at anchorage.The consortium will engage major clients for marine UA deliveries over a nine-month pilot phase, with the goal of building a UA delivery network capable of carrying parcel payloads up to 10kg.

Sanjay Suresh, Head of BD & Operations APAC, Skyports, said, "As home to one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore is the ideal setting in which to demonstrate to customers the potential for UA to transform maritime logistics by moving essential supplies in a more cost-effective and sustainable way. Together with ST Engineering and Sumitomo Corporation, Skyports is excited to play a key role with our expertise in BVLOS UA operations in the continued expansion of our collective capabilities in the maritime sector."

ST Engineering will offer the UA technology through its end-to-end solution, DroNet; Skyports and ST Engineering will jointly execute BVLOS flight operations; and Sumitomo Corporation will provide go-to-market support, including their own fleet of vessels. The consortium's three partners will use their existing maritime networks to conduct business development operations.

ST Engineering has been testing and developing autonomous solutions to enable BVLOS UA operations for shore-to-ship delivery in close collaboration with regulators and industry partners as a leading unmanned systems participant in Singapore. The Group recently completed the initial development of a UA system for shore-to-ship packet distribution based on its in-house DroNet solution with financing support from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore's (CAAS) Call-for-Proposals. During solution development, a coordinated effort with Wilhelmsen Ships Service helped to increase the commercialization and operational elements.

Teong Soo Soon, VP & Head of UA Systems at ST Engineering, said, "UA Systems have evolved rapidly in recent years to emerge as safe and robust alternatives to traditionally labour- and time-intensive missions. We are excited to be partnering Sumitomo Corporation and SkyPorts in the pilot launch of unmanned services for shore-to-ship parcel delivery after spending close to two years of R&D efforts to develop the solution. We look forward to being a strong enabler for customers which wish to leverage unmanned technology to inject higher efficiency and sustainability into their operations."

Compared to the traditional form of delivery by boats, UA operations can significantly slash response time and speed up turnaround for shore-to-ship delivery, in addition to reducing logistics costs. Replacing launch boat delivery with UA also helps to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to the maritime industry's overall efforts to operate sustainably.

Ichiro Tatara, GM, Commercial Aviation Department at Sumitomo, said, "UA systems are a potential infrastructure enabling sustainable transportation. We are very excited to launch a pilot programme for shore-to-ship parcel delivery together with ST Engineering and Skyports, and we believe this partnering is a great team and provides sustainable and efficient service to vessels in Singapore."

ST Engineering will be showcasing its UA systems and other aerospace capabilities at the Aviation cluster of the ST Engineering Pavilion (G01) from 15 – 18 February at Singapore Airshow 2022.

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