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A glimpse of the inspiring people and stories of the maritime industry.

If Superheroes had a Maritime Day Job (Part 1)

Many of us would love to be superheroes because, admit it, we secretly want to possess superpowers that would allow us to do what others can’t. Also, there’s the fact that they get to wear awesome costumes to work!

But what would they do when there’s no villain to stop or world to save? Well, they could be leading normal undercover lives, earning their keep and contributing to society just like us!

Here’s our take on the different maritime jobs that we think our favourite superheroes can do given their abilities.

As the Senior Manager of the InfoComm Technology (ICT) Division at PSA Corporation, Matthew works on port equipment automation to source out new automation capabilities

Superhero: Iron Man
Maritime equivalent: IT Manager

Just like Tony Stark, the brilliant scientist and business magnate who invented Iron Man, an IT Manager shares the same deep-rooted understanding of technology and how it can be harnessed to improve the world.

In this way, both Iron Man and Matthew Chan, Senior Manager of the InfoComm Technology (ICT) Division at PSA Corporation share many similarities.

Both these individuals tinker with hi-tech gadgets, except in Matthew’s case, it’s not to fight evil but to improve the efficiency and productivity of the port through automation!

Matthew oversees IT solutions for automated equipment that supports PSA’s terminal operations, and regularly works with “gadgets” such as the Automated Rail Mounted Gantry (aRMG) and Electric-Automated Rubber Tire Gantry (E-ARTG), which are mobile gantry cranes used in port operations to ground and stack containers; as well as other Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) to assist in the transportation of boxed cargo into the quayside and yard.

Matthew (fifth from the right) inspecting an AGV, driverless vehicles used to transport boxed cargo from the quayside to yard via transponders embedded to the floor, with his team

With the ever-changing landscape of technology, naturally, innovation is very much a part of their careers as well. Matthew and his team recently redesigned the Unified Remote Console (URC), which is used to operate automated equipment remotely.

For this project, Matthew not only made the URC more intuitive and user-friendly, he also future-proofed its design so that it can be easily integrated with future equipment. But that’s not all, the final design even includes gamification elements to inject some fun for operators!

“As a leader, we need to be open when it comes to embracing innovation and transformation to break barriers; this is how new solutions to increasing efficiency and productivity come about.”

Of course, all this wouldn’t have been possible without teamwork. Just like how Iron Man relies on Pepper Potts, Matthew and his team often collaborate with the Engineering and Operations departments to gain a deeper understanding of the operations workflow, design, and engineering controls of the automated equipment in order to create a reliable and well-integrated solution to meet business needs.

Finally, one of the last defining traits that both Iron Man and Matthew share is tenacity and having an eye for detail.

It’s no secret that Iron Man invested much of his time and effort into developing his suit, constantly making sure that it’s always in optimal functioning condition. For Matthew, having this similar drive is important, especially during the systems integration phase involving new automated equipment. With the safety of others on the line, it is this perseverance and attention to detail that helps Matthew with evaluating the risks of potential scenarios and blind spots posed by the system in order to get it at its optimal working condition.

With 20 years of experience in the marine insurance market, Lim Ping Ping works as a Marine Insurance Underwriter at Beazley, constantly keeping herself up-to-date with local and global economic trends

Superhero: Professor X
Maritime equivalent: Marine Insurance Underwriter

One of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Universe is Professor X. As the leader of the X-Men, he is an inspiring mentor and a character who never fails to anticipate new challenges.

Similar to Professor X, who uses his mental prowess to make the world a better place, Lim Ping Ping, a Marine Insurance Underwriter with Beazley, uses her knowledge of legal, compliance and regulatory framework of the shipping industry to help her clients ensure business continuity even during unfavourable events.

Equipped with telepathic powers, Professor X has the ability to read minds, giving him the advantage of being one step ahead. Ping Ping has to apply this same foresight into her role, taking into account the global business aspects of marine insurance, and anticipating the potential changes in technological, economic and political environments to recommend the most suitable policies to meet her client’s needs.

Ping Ping adds that knowing a client’s potential exposures and liabilities is critical. For example, in the context of cargo insurance, one must understand the nature of the goods insured and the supply chain – from origin to destination; sellers to buyers.

“In addition to the usual terms and conditions and rating levels, other information relating to the goods, voyages, types of vessels used, limits and values involved should be considered, understood and reflected in the insurance contracts.”

Another trait that Professor X and Ping Ping share is their innate charisma of bringing people together. Professionals like Ping Ping have impeccable people skills to build strong relations with clients, assuring them of her capabilities to meet their needs in the event of a claim.

Ping Ping in a meeting with her colleagues, hearing and addressing their concerns

One way she establishes trust with her clients is by being transparent. This includes being honest and open in managing their expectations, especially when it comes to difficult decisions such as underwriting a risk or offering terms that might not align with the client’s demands.

“Forging a strong bond isn’t accomplished overnight, but over years of communication and working together,” shares Ping Ping, who has been in the marine insurance market for the past 20 years.

Working in the same role for two decades, you might think that you’ve learned everything there is to learn. However, Ping Ping shares that she is constantly kept on her toes! With the advancement in technology driving the economy and the way they do business, it is important to be adaptable to changes on a local and global level.

The same can be said for Professor X. Though he has managed his school for decades, every new student brings on a different challenge.

“Every day presents a new challenge and learning experience for me. I also enjoy the fact that my job allows me to meet many different people across the insurance and marine markets.”

While it’s cool to have superpowers, these are everyday heroes in the maritime industry who are superheroes in their own right. Though they might not have the universe to save, they certainly play an integral role in keeping Maritime Singapore running!


Keep an eye out for Part 2 where we feature two other superheroes and their maritime equivalents!

Find out more about the role of a Marine Insurance Underwriter here.

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