Singapore’s Jurong Port is set to commence joint studies with drone operator Skyports that could pave the way for maritime ship-to-shore cargo drone delivery at scale.
The port operator said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Skyports covering the feasibility assessment of the technology.
Specifically, Jurong Port wants to understand “how drone delivery technology can be integrated into the existing logistics and cargo operations”.
The trials will start over the next year and “be carried out simultaneously with ongoing port operations”, the two firms said in a statement.
“At the same time, Skyports will lead in the engagements with relevant public sector organisations, regulators, and private entities to further the development of critical regulatory frameworks for the deployment of large-scale cargo drone delivery services.”
Jurong Port’s breakbulk and lighters business unit area vice president Walter Lin said that “drone delivery technology has demonstrated its ability to enhance the maritime industry’s processes, and the development of its supporting infrastructure will be crucial in transforming the future of maritime logistics and shipping.”
“As one of the world’s busiest anchorages, Jurong Port is constantly looking out for solutions that will benefit the shipping and maritime industry,” Lin said.
“We believe that drone delivery technology will play an integral role in the evolution of our next-generation port.”
Jurong Port handles bulk, break-bulk and containerised cargo, and manages tens of thousands of vessel calls annually in Singapore’s sole multi-purpose port.
No detail was provided on the kinds of payloads that the trial drones would carry; however, in product documentation, Skyports says its technology can be used to aid ship berthing and for just-in-time delivery of items to and from ships.