Daily Briefing: Singapore banks on private sector to plug SEA infra gap; Coworking space for healthtech startups launched

And Freepoint Commodities will begin supplying very low-sulfur fuel oil to Singapore in Q4.

From Bloomberg:

Singapore has been moving forward on its aim to be the lead broker of infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, and is intent on getting the private sector more involved.

Globally, government funding accounts for about 40% of infrastructure spending, but in Asia it’s 90%--an “unsustainable” proportion, Indranee Rajah, minister in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office, commented at a regional summit hosted by the Singapore Business Federation.

Seth Tan, executive director of Infrastructure Asia, a year-old Singapore governmental agency, said his outfit can help boost the private-sector portion. The agency is tasked with mobilising capital and helping connect supply and demand to get infrastructure projects off the ground and offers finance and engineering expertise for projects across seven markets: Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh and India .

Emerging Asia needs about $37.42b (US$26t) worth of infrastructure investment through 2030, the Asian Development Bank estimates. With multilateral lenders’ contributions generally capped for any single project, there’s plenty of room for the private sector to step forward.

Read more here.

From e27:

Aardvark Labs and Padang & Co. have joined forces to launch CATALYST Collaborative Workspace, a coworking space that seeks to support medical and health technology startups and clinician-innovators.

The opening ceremony of CATALYST co-working space was officiated by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative. MoUs were signed between Aardvark Labs and SingHealth, National Healthcare Group (NHG), and National Health Innovation Centre (NHIC).

Under these MOUs, CATALYST pledges to foster “technology innovation in the healthcare space and creates new partnerships that deliver real health outcomes and meaningful business impact”.

CATALYST plans to bring together public and private-practice clinician-innovators, medtech, and healthtech startups to develop products and services that help prevent and cure diseases, in a scalable manner.

Read more here.

From Reuters:

Freepoint Commodities Singapore said that it will start supplying very low-sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) in the fourth quarter in the world’s largest bunkering port when ships start testing a fuel that will meet global standards going into effect from 2020.

The U.S. commodities trading company is also upgrading a terminal owned by Indonesian state energy firm Pertamina where traders can blend oil into VLSFO and supply the fuel to neighboring Singapore, Ouyang Xiuzhang, head of Freepoint’s Singapore unit, told Reuters.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated that ships globally have to reduce the sulfur content in the fuels they use to 0.5% from 3.5% from 2020 to cut pollution.

That means shippers will have to choose between installing air pollution control devices called scrubbers so they can keep burning high-sulfur fuel oil (HSFO), or opting to use more expensive VLSFO or marine gas oil to power their vessels.

“We can supply out of floating storage in Singapore,” he said, adding that work is also underway to upgrade Pertamina’s Sambu Island terminal, which is to be completed next year.

Read more here.

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