, Singapore
254 views
Photo from Pyxis

Pyxis charts the course towards a greener, sustainable maritime

By 2030, Pyxis aims to become Asia Pacific’s market leader for maritime coastal electrification.

From 2030 onwards, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will mandate that all new harbour crafts should be capable of being fully electric or powered by net-zero emission fuels such as B100 biofuel or hydrogen. This bold move propels the maritime industry towards the ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Sharing the same ambition, maritime tech start-up Pyxis, has charted the course towards promoting a decarbonised, cleaner, and greener maritime by offering electric vessels to fleets across the Singapore waters and beyond.

“Pyxis, a maritime electrification accelerator, was founded to allow existing maritime companies to seamlessly electrify and decarbonise their fleet,” Tommy Phun, CEO and Founder of Pyxis told Singapore Business Review.

“The name “Pyxis” is Latin, and it represents a mariner’s compass. That’s our vision, per se, to try to create a greener, cleaner maritime future for generations to come,” said Phun, who is well-versed in the maritime industry, with a background rooted in a 30-year-old family shipping business.

“[In our family business,] we operate and own vessels, and we have our own shipyard. But about three years ago, we received a lot of pressure from our customers to provide a greener solution,” he said.

The absence of widely available green solutions in the market made it challenging for Phun's company to qualify for certain tenders. This prompted them to step up and pave the way for that “green solution” not just for the family business but also for the entire maritime industry of Singapore. “So, that's one of the reasons why Pyxis was founded,” said Phun.

“The pressure became quite real and we realised that if we don’t do anything about it, five years, 10 years down the road, we risk becoming irrelevant,” he recalled. “We also realised that the same problem that [our] family business is facing is the exact same issues that so many other companies in Singapore and Asia are facing."

In Singapore, there are 1,600 coastal vessels operating by the port, all of which need to adopt sustainable solutions in the immediate future and Pyxis aims to expedite this transition.

Solution in 3 Es

Pyxis offers a one-stop solution for existing maritime companies through its three Es: Electric vessel, Energy, and Electra.

“We are building and developing electric vessels with a very high degree of product market fit,” Phun said.

“A lot of us in the Pyxis team come from the maritime industry. A lot of us are second-generation and third-generation business owners of maritime companies. So we build vessels, and we operate vessels on a very consistent basis. So we know exactly how these vessels need to be built and how they should be operated,” he said.

Pyxis’ second unit is Pyxis Energy, which was created a year ago to provide electricity and energy to mitigate the costs of powering coastal vessels.

“Right now, one of the biggest operating costs for coastal vessels is fuel. But as we electrify the new [vessels], the biggest operating costs will then become electricity. So Pyxis Energy is setting up in order to power the infrastructure to charge these vessels,” Phun explained.

The last E is Electra, which is Pyxis’ IoT-enabled software designed to manage digitalised data from electric vessels. It holds Pyxis’ onboard vessel management system.

“[Electra] allows us to achieve huge gains in productivity compared to traditional diesel-based maritime. So the three E’s that form Pyxis make us an effective solution for existing maritime companies to seamlessly adopt electric vessels. And that is what makes us different,” Phun told Singapore Business Review.

Through these three subsidiaries, Pyxis generates profit. Aside from capitalising on the electric vessels they build for sale and for lease, Pyxis sells power through Pyxis Energy, which provides the energy infrastructure and marine charging station that charges customers per kwh.

Lastly, Electra generates revenue by offering services such as crew management, dynamic electricity pricing, carbon emission reporting and accountability, as well as predictive maintenance, amongst others.

Vessels

Despite being in the industry for only three years, Pyxis already boasts a net order book of 13 vessels, rapidly accelerating the business's growth.

One of these vessels, named the X Tron, is the first in a series of fully electric passenger transfer vessels known as Pyxis One. It will be chartered by York Launch, a Singapore-based boat operator.

X Tron was launched at the Clifford Pier in March earlier this year, during the “Past, Present and Future of Maritime Singapore” event attended by representatives from the MPA and Enterprise Singapore.

“The event is something that we are really proud of, because it signifies the past, [as] we will be bringing maritime veterans together in the present, and as an entire community, we sail towards the future,” Phun said.

Pyxis is also building electric river boats for Singapore River cruise operator, Water B. These vessels are called “Pyxis R” which has a luxury counterpart called “Pyxis L.”

Industry backing

Thanks to Pyxis’ cutting-edge innovations, the industry is rallying behind them. Just three months ago, this maritime tech start-up secured S$4.5M (US$3.4M) in a seed funding round, building on the momentum of their oversubscribed round last year. The overwhelming investor interest underscores Pyxis’ potential to revolutionize the sector.

“We were significantly oversubscribed for both rounds. Our fundraising idea from the very beginning was to have a good mix of two groups of investors: one is the maritime and one is the non-maritime,” Phun said.

Pyxis already has 13 maritime companies as shareholders, each one bringing very deep domain knowledge to the table. Their valuable industry expertise and resources make them important strategic partners. “They become our customers, [and] they become our supply chain partners,” Phun said.

On the other hand, non-maritime investors provide the best practices for different industries. Being from outside the maritime sector, the diversity they represent helps the company benefit from a wide range of experiences and methodologies.

“In our previous round, we had two lead investors, one known as Shift4Good, which is a mobility fund, and the other [one is] Motion Ventures [which is a] maritime-focused fund. So these are two lead investors and they have both been very, very helpful in our growth journey and in the process of scaling up,” he added.

Pyxis is currently armed with a robust S$6M (US$4.45M) in combined funding, poised to fuel its expansion efforts. Phun’s strategic focus is on scaling up operations in key ports, mirroring the success of Singapore’s operations, which operate in a similar fashion.

“We have been very fortunate to be based in Singapore because Singapore [is] the world’s second-largest port. Every three minutes, a new ship comes into our waters. [But] the ambition and vision is to grow quickly out of Singapore and to scale to regional ports around Asia, [such as] ports in Japan, ports in Tokyo, in Korea, [and] in Taiwan,” he said.

In November last year, Pyxis signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) which is one of the world’s biggest shipping companies, operating for over 100 years now.

“Our vision as a company is to become the Asia Pacific market leader for maritime coastal electrification. [And] we want to deploy 100 vessels in the next five years or rather by the year 2030 and to expand to seven international ports by then,” Phun concluded.
 

Join Singapore Business Review community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!

Event News

Event News

SBR National Business Awards 2024 Winner: Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd Cards & Payments
Lay Cheng Tan, Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer, and Mayank Raheja, Managing Director (EMEA & SA) of Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd, provided insights into preventing fraud and inefficiency with the WiseQ QR Payment Solution.
Cards & Payments SBR National Business Awards 2024 Winner: Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd
Lay Cheng Tan, Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer, and Mayank Raheja, Managing Director (EMEA & SA) of Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd, provided insights into preventing fraud and inefficiency with the WiseQ QR Payment Solution.