Skyports Drone Services has announced the addition of Cash-to-Master (CTM) services to its repertoire of ship-to-shore services. The CTM service was announced at the annual Singapore Maritime Week event, with a live demonstration of the new offering taking place at the Maritime Drone Estate, Singapore’s drone testbed. Attendees were shown the full flight process, from the placement of a delivery slot by the vessel master, to the electric aircraft’s arrival back at shore.
A successful trial period of the CTM service was carried out between January and April 2023, during which Skyports Drone Services worked with Pacific Carriers Limited to demonstrate capabilities for end-users. Now live, the service is being introduced as a part of the drone operator’s permanent line up of services offered in Singapore and Korea. Other services currently being offered include express sample analysis lanes for bunker, water and lubricant oil samples, and on-demand cargo deliveries for packages up to 10 kg.
Sanjay Suresh, APAC General Manager for Skyports Drone Services, said, “The introduction of Cash-to-Master services is a significant milestone for us and the industry. Given the sensitive nature of the cargo, there is an even greater need to design a process that ensures a secure chain of custody, while still making the service a light-touch and easily integrated process. All our work is underpinned by the commitment to realising greater connectivity, safety and efficiency standards through drone technology, and we are excited to be bringing this much-needed service to our customers in Singapore, Korea and other regions in time to come.”
The introduction of CTM deliveries via drone is a significant milestone in Skyports Drone Services’ efforts to transform legacy processes in the maritime industry. The implementation of an end-to-end digital solution that is easily integrated into the protocols and workflows of end-users provides a service that is up to six times faster than traditional delivery methods, reducing the total completion time from approximately four hours down to under an hour.
Ensuring a secure chain of custody is paramount in the delivery of cash out to vessels. Digitalising the process from the point of order to completion via the order management system, together with mandatory user authentication via a one-time code to unlock the drone’s payload bay upon landing on the vessel, ensures greater efficiency and secure tracking of the parcel from start to finish. At the same time, the process elevates safety levels while executing the deliveries as the need for manual embarkation and travel by launch boat is removed.
Tan Kian Chai, Senior General Manager, Pacific Carriers Limited said, “Adopting new and meaningful technologies is an important part of our ethos, as we look to safely, seamlessly and effectively leverage technological advancements to improve our operations and processes. Our work with Skyports Drone Services has demonstrated the ability of drone delivery technology to create a safer environment for the vessels under our charge, while also safeguarding the security of cash deliveries. We’ve received positive feedback from our vessel masters and believe that the adoption of maritime drones reduces emission which underscores our decarbonisation efforts towards a greener environment.”
The Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) deliveries are being executed with the use of ST Engineering’s DrN-35 drone and end-to-end unmanned aircraft solution, DroNet.
Skyports Drone Services and ST Engineering have a long-standing relationship, with the former supporting ST Engineering’s daily reservoir monitoring missions for the Public Utilities Board (PUB) in Singapore since 2021. In February 2022, Skyports, ST Engineering and Sumitomo Corporation announced the formation of a consortium to pilot a ship-to-shore parcel delivery programme in Singapore. In August 2022, Skyports and ST Engineering further strengthened their ties with the latter making a USD3.13m investment at the close of Skyports’ Series B funding round.
Soo Soon Teong, SVP & Head of Unmanned Air Systems at ST Engineering, said, “Our work with Skyports in Singapore’s maritime sector has consistently unlocked new opportunities for enhancing safety and efficiency in the industry, and with each milestone we are seeing greater interest and acceptance from the end-users – who are the ultimate beneficiaries of drone delivery technology. We are thrilled to see our drones on the frontlines of the marine industry’s transformation, and look forward to expanding on our work in the months ahead.”
Skyports Drone Services has made significant progress across its global portfolio of projects in 2023. Officially entering the Korean market with the formation of Skyports Drone Services Korea, a joint venture entity with local drone technology company, Marine Drone Tech (MDT) in February 2023. The following month, a successful proof of concept was completed in Japan’s Kaga City for medical drone deliveries. Most recently, the company announced the launch of the Orkney I-Port operation, a fully electric drone logistics project established in partnership with Royal Mail, Orkney Islands Council Harbour Authority and Loganair.