Wednesday 24 June 2015

Pasir Panjang Terminal's $3.5 billion expansion kicks off on 23 June 2015

Phases 3 and 4 will raise container handling capacity by more than 40%
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 24 Jun 2015

THE $3.5 billion Phase 3 and 4 development of Pasir Panjang Terminal was officially launched yesterday, further strengthening Singapore's position as a leading shipping hub.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the crucial role that the port has played in positioning Singapore globally when he opened the facility yesterday.

If Singapore's port was not connected directly to other major ports in Asia, Europe and the United States, the Republic would be sidelined, he said.

The new expansion - which includes the already-operational Pasir Panjang Terminal 5 and two future terminals that will be running by the end of 2017 - will add 15 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) to Singapore's handling capacity.

This will boost the Republic's container throughput by more than 40 per cent to 50 million TEUs annually. Currently, Singapore's port is edging close to its maximum capacity of 35 million TEUs, after handling a total of 33.9 million last year.

The Government decided in 2004 to expand the Pasir Panjang terminals to include 15 new berths to better serve mega-size ships, or those which can carry upwards of 18,000 containers.

Technologies such as automated rail-mounted gantry cranes will also be used for the first time in the new expansion. These yard cranes are operated remotely from a control centre and containers are stacked with the help of computers, sensors and cameras, thereby saving manpower and increasing productivity.

Mr Lee said Singapore's position as the world's biggest transhipment hub, and the second busiest port in the world after Shanghai, should not be taken for granted. The latter was exceptional, Mr Lee noted, considering Singapore has a domestic base of only 5.5 million in population, but Shanghai has the hinterland of China.

"It is a remarkable position for our port to be in, and it's not something which is going to stay unless we keep up," he said.

Singapore also has more plans for the long term, Mr Lee said, with a mega-terminal planned in Tuas that will consolidate all of PSA's port activities by 2040.

When fully operational, it will be able to handle 65 million TEUs annually, almost double last year's container throughput.

The megaport - a green-field site - will also use advanced technology such as data analytics and autonomous vehicles to sharpen Singapore's efficiency, reliability and competitive edge, he said.

What will also set Tuas apart from the current terminals is the port's interaction with its surroundings and members of the public. "We are also studying how the port can be redesigned to integrate well with the surrounding development and to be open to the public, instead of the traditional mode of a port which is completely out of bounds to the public," he said.

In his speech yesterday, Mr Lee also paid tribute to pioneer port workers who worked tirelessly to keep the port running efficiently.

The maritime industry today, he said, continues to create good jobs and employs 170,000 people while contributing 7 per cent to Singapore's gross domestic product.

"Singaporeans know that the port is important to us, but I suspect that many of us don't realise how critical it is," he said.

We know that our port is important to Singapore, but we may not realise just how critical it is. The maritime...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Port's success anchored on workers' tireless efforts: PM Lee
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 24 Jun 2015

SINGAPORE has come a long way to achieve its status as a shipping hub, but could not have done so without the efforts of pioneers and generations of port workers, who "worked tirelessly, 24/7" to keep the port running efficiently.

At the official launch of Pasir Panjang Terminal's Phases 3 and 4 expansion yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid tribute to this group of workers in a speech.

Of particular mention was Mr Martin Verghese, 71, who was among the first group of quay crane operators. Mr Verghese unloaded the first container off the first-ever container vessel to call at Singapore, the MV Nihon, which arrived from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on June 23, 1972.

Mr Lee also mentioned Mr Toh Kok Tia, 70, who was a work supervisor when the MV Nihon arrived.

Both men are now trainers at the PSA Institute and mentor the next generation of port workers.

Mr Lee also credited good leadership - such as the foresight of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the PSA's first chairman, Mr Howe Yoon Chong, to start Singapore's first container terminal in Tanjong Pagar. It was commissioned in 1972, when the idea of containerisation was still new.

Mr Lee said: "We didn't know whether it would be a success because, with the MV Nihon, the first ship which came, it was just 300 containers - not a game changer in itself, but it was the beginning of a game change."

Today, Singapore handles ships with more than 18,000 containers, turning them around and sending them back out in about a day.

Mr Lee also cited Mr Lim Kim San, for leading the PSA to grow to become one of the world's busiest ports, as well as Dr Yeo Ning Hong, a former chairman, and Mr David Lim, a former chief executive, for expanding PSA's footprint internationally.

Mr Lee also recognised the close cooperation that existed with the port workers' unions and acknowledged the staff of the Maritime and Port Authority.

23 June 2015 - A S$3.5 billion project to add 15 mega containership berths to the Pasir Panjang terminal was officially...
Posted by Ministry of Transport, Singapore on Thursday, June 25, 2015

* Completion of Pasir Panjang Terminal Phase 3 & 4

New automated cranes on trial at Pasir Panjang Terminal, in boost for Singapore's port hub ambition
New machines to be used alongside driverless vehicles, also on trial, in productivity push
By Isabelle Liew, The Straits Times, 24 Jul 2018

New automated cranes and vehicles are on trial at the Pasir Panjang Terminal and can boost productivity substantially, potentially bolstering Singapore's status as a port hub.

Port and terminal operator PSA Singapore introduced details of the automated machines to Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan during a briefing at the Pasir Panjang Terminal Building 3 yesterday.

Under the new automated quay crane system, part of the process of moving containers - from a vessel to a prime mover, for example - can be done automatically.

But a worker will still need to use a joystick to load and unload containers onto the vessels and vehicles for now, though engineers are working to make the whole process automated with only minimal human supervision needed.

"Technology has revolutionised and transformed PSA and the broader maritime and ports industry," said Mr Eddy Ng, managing director of Singapore Terminals 2, which includes the Pasir Panjang Terminal.

"What used to be a lot more labour-intensive has now been refreshed by automation and digital capabilities and new technologies."

What will be especially refreshing for crane operators is that they will be stationed in an air-conditioned office instead of a cabin perched atop a 17-storey crane.

Mr Ng said the system, which allows operators to view live CCTV footage and move the containers while based in an operations centre, has been on trial since the first quarter of this year.

In preparation for the trial, 40 crane operators have been progressively trained to use the system since 2016.

These cranes will be used alongside automated guided vehicles, which are also on trial . These driverless vehicles are used to transport containers between the quayside and the container yard 24/7.

PSA Singapore has three automated quay cranes and 30 of these vehicles.

Mr Ng told the media that an existing automated yard system in Pasir Panjang Terminals 4, 5 and 6 has led to a 20 per cent to 25 per cent increase in productivity.

"In many sectors, we are seeing good results in better utilisation of equipment, higher labour productivity," he said, adding that PSA has yet to quantify manpower savings.

The move to boost efficiency at the Pasir Panjang Terminal follows a $3.5 billion expansion of the facility completed in the first half of this year.

The automated quay crane system will also be used at another terminal: It is targeted to be implemented at the Tuas mega port when it opens its first phase in 2021. When fully completed in 2040, the port is expected to be the largest container terminal in the world.

Mr Lee Poh Ann, 43, a container equipment specialist in quay cranes who has tried the new automated crane system, said a human touch is still needed for now.

Said Mr Lee, who has been with PSA for 25 years: "Looking at the CCTV footage on our computer screens instead of the actual containers needed some getting used to. It may not be very accurate as of now, so we still need humans to man the system. We can do more to fine-tune the system."

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