Another successful voyage for the Ocean of Opportunities Challenge in 2020

NUS Enterprise
5 min readSep 11, 2020

Contributed by Soh Hui Min

The Ocean of Opportunities (O3) Challenge 2020 concluded on a high note with seven finalist teams pitching at the Grand Finale for top honours, as well as an Audience’s Favourite choice on 26 August.

The winners

The grand prize was awarded to Team Mizzen x Maxamation, who provided a solution for ‘Dynamic pricing based on determinant factors’. Second place went to Team Virtual Control who competed using the challenge statement on ‘Efficient date exchange with non-system-integrated CFS’. Team Portcast came in third for its proposal on ‘scheduling reliability prediction using publicly available data’, and the team was also voted as the Audience’s Favourite for this Challenge.

The Challenge

In its third year, the Ocean of Opportunities Challenge 2020 presented new opportunities compared to previous runs — adding new challenge opportunities with a category seeking Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions. In all, eight challenge statements were put up to gather the most innovative solutions. They are:

  • Virtual walkthrough for vessels
  • Digitalising and categorising contract terms
  • Determining the necessity of container inspection
  • Efficient data exchange with non-system-integrated CFS
  • Visualisation of roll trailer management
  • Schedule reliability prediction using publicly available data (AI Track)
  • Dynamic pricing based on all determinant factors (AI Track)
  • Identification of high-risk vessels based on open-source intelligence (AI Track)

Organised by NUS Enteprise and Symphony Creative Solutions, the O3 challenge, since its inception, aims to bring innovation to the traditional shipping industry and seeks to solve age-old pain points with technology and ideas.

Yu Kurimoto, Managing Director of Ocean Network Express (ONE) recognised that the shipping and logistics industry used to be considered as a very conventional and traditional industry though it may be entirely different now. He outlined in the opening address in the Grand Finale, “One of the most important strategies for companies in the industry is to improve their business process and provide better services and customer experience by utilising digital technology.”

Kenneth Lim, CTO and Senior Director (Innovation, Technology and Talent Development Division) of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) also mirrored the same views saying that digitalisation is a capability that many companies require. At the same time, he highlighted MPA is also strengthening and nurturingn the innovation ecosystem. Some of the ways that Kenneth highlighted include “blueprinting”, “getting started through PIER71’s Smart Port Challenge or equivalent challenges like O3” and “having an MPA and other Living Lab to test out new concepts of operations”.

Highlights of this year’s O3 Challenge

The Challenge this year also saw a positive response for submissions, receiving a total of 104 submissions, which was an increase of 38% from the previous year. Submissions came from participants from 33 countries including Singapore, US, India, Germany, Australia, UK, Canada, France, Hong Kong.

The successful voyagers

Let’s take a look at the three winning teams in detail:

Mizzen Group x Maxamation (Australia)

Mizzen Group has an automated rate quoting software built for and used by eight shipping lines and hundreds of freight forwarders.

Maxamation works with 40 airlines in 27 countries who use their forecasting and optimising software.

The proposal: is a yield management and dynamic pricing solution built for container shipping lines using underlying software components in use today in both the aviation and container shipping sectors. It enables trade managers to make decisions more efficiently and effectively.

From the judges: Thomas Ting, Deputy Director of MPA, highlighted that the proposal has strong business value and the team took an innovative approach to tackle the problem statement. While the solution has not been developed yet, the judging panel sees potential for such solution to be scaled into different business areas such as freight forwarding or even non-containerised cargo.

Virtual Control (Hong Kong)

Virtual Control provides greater automation, quality and control of operations, and expanded coverage and capability in the logistics industry with the development of AI solution for cargo inspection including dimensioning and label inspection.

Virtual Control was selected as a finalist team to pitch for two different challenge statements, in which they secured second placing for their proposal for ‘Efficient date exchange with non-system-integrated CFS’.

The solution: Fineas provides a unified data integration from Virtual Control’s Dimension scanning and mobile cargo inspection application and provides high-level reporting and drill-down details for recorded events. The front end of this solution records actionable insights for clients using computer vision and machine learning tools relevant for each client’s operation. It is estimated that this solution will shrink the current time taken from over 90 to about 10 minutes

From the judges: Elton Fong, Vice President of PSA unboXed commented that the proposed solution has a high business impact. The judges also liked that their product was ready to be built on and that gave confidence that future piloting would have a high chance of success. In addition, the product offered the approach of a more standardised decision in the market.

Portcast (Singapore)

Portcast makes supply chains dynamic using advanced data and proprietary machine learning. It delivers vessel arrival forecast to any part in the voyage with their technology.

The solution: Portcast is using its current platform and the key to achieve efficiency in data orchestration across the network. The platform gives an overview of all vessels or containers as well as a map overview and filtering. This helps with productivity, fleet optimisation, customer satisfaction and decarbonisation.

From the judges: Chua Chye Poh, Founder of ShipsFocus highlighted that Portcast had an advantage, having gained commercial traction. Most specifically, the team scored very well for its technology competence.

The three other finalist teams are Fraser-Nash Consultancy (UK), Maritime API (Greece) and Silver Wings (Singapore).

· Fraser-Nash Consultancy helps organisations deliver innovative systems, engineering and technology solutions to make lives safe, secure, sustainable, and affordable.

· MaritimeAPI empowers maritime companies to integrate their data fast and use AI for effective decision making.

· Silver Wings supports digital transformation processes and offers a wide variety of 3D visualisation solutions offering immersive and interactive experiences.

What’s next

While the O3 Grand Finale may have ended, all the finalist teams are awaiting the final announcement on the selection for the bootcamp, where they will be able to work on a Proof-of-Concept (POC) with the corporate partners of this challenge. Check out for updates.

They will also receive mentorship from industry players to help them dive into the trillion-dollar industry. There will also be a 3-month programme with ecosystem partner Cyberport for the teams to immerse in the Hong Kong start-up ecosystem where many shipping companies are headquartered.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in innovation or keen to join us on the next voyage on the Ocean of Opportunities, you can reach out to NUS Enterprise and Symphony Creative Solutions at



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