Wednesday 3 October 2012

Tuas to have mega port for all container shipments

Long-term plan will raise efficiency of port operations and free up prime land
By Alvin Foo, The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2012

SINGAPORE has officially decided to consolidate all its container port activities at Tuas over the long term with the first berths to be built there in 10 years.

Announcing the decision yesterday, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the move would free up prime land occupied by the terminals in the city area for redevelopment and result in more efficient port operations.

The announcement came at a launch ceremony at which PSA Singapore Terminals (PSA) said it is investing $3.5 billion to develop Phases 3 and 4 of its Pasir Panjang Terminal.

This will be spent on leading infrastructure and the latest port technology, such as an automated container yard and unmanned cranes.

The idea of a mega port at Tuas was proposed by the Government's Economic Strategies Committee in 2010.

Yesterday, Mr Lui said: "We will work towards consolidating all our container port activities at Tuas over the longer term."

This means that the city terminals at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani, plus those at Pasir Panjang will eventually be merged at Tuas. The port leases at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani will end in 2027.

Tuas is suitable given its "sheltered deep waters and proximity to (Singapore's) major industrial areas and international shipping routes", said Mr Lui.

Tuas Port will be a long-term project rolled out in phases, with the first set of berths to be operational in about 10 years, he added.

The target is for Tuas Port to handle up to 65 million standard containers a year, nearly double the current total container handling capacity of 35 million 20ft equivalent units (TEUs). It will also result in greater efficiency.

Now, Singapore has five container terminals - Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani, Pasir Panjang Terminal 1 and Pasir Panjang Terminal 2. Containers are often trucked between these terminals for transhipment, adding to time taken, business costs and road congestion.

Mr Lui said: "Consolidation will eliminate this need for inter-terminal haulage."

The new port will also give a clean slate and the chance to introduce more advanced technology and processes to meet future challenges, he added.

Meanwhile, PSA said Pasir Panjang Terminal Phases 3 and 4 will have 15 new berths, with nearly 6,000m of quay length and up to 18m draft. These new phases can accommodate the next generation of container vessels.

"It will showcase state-of- the-art technologies that will take our overall capacity, productivity and customer service to new heights," said PSA International group chief executive Tan Chong Meng.

The upcoming phases at Pasir Panjang Terminal will feature an automated container yard with proprietary intelligent planning and operation systems, and unmanned, rail-mounted gantry cranes.

When completed by 2020, these additions will boost Singapore's total container handling capacity from 35 million standard containers a year now to 50 million. Last year PSA handled 29.37 million containers.

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