Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tuas mega port: Phase 1 of Tuas Terminal construction begins 29 April 2016

First part of future mega port in Tuas launched
15,000-tonne 'building block' sent out to sea; new construction method will be quicker

By Samantha Boh, The Straits Times, 30 Apr 2016

The first building block of Singapore's future Tuas mega port has been sent out to sea.

Yesterday, the first of 222 caissons - structures that will make up the wharf of Phase 1 of the Tuas Terminal - was launched on a floating dock from the southern edge of Tuas by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure.

It will take a day for it to drift to its destination, where it will be joined by the others over the next three to four years to form the 8.6km-long wharf.

The Tuas Terminal will be developed in four phases over 30 years, with Phase 1 scheduled to be completed by the early 2020s.

Phase 1 of the terminal will be able to handle about 20 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo a year. The entire Tuas Terminal could eventually handle 65 million TEUs of cargo annually - nearly double what Singapore handled in 2014.

Singapore's plan is to move all its port activities to Tuas South from 2027, freeing up prime land in Tanjong Pagar and Pasir Panjang for future residential and mixed-use developments.

Mr Andrew Tan, chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said the reason for Singapore's existence is its port, and it has now to become more efficient, innovative and productive to stay ahead in the game.

The features of the new port will showcase these aspects, he said.

Using caissons to build the wharf structure, for example, is faster than traditional methods like piling. The concrete, watertight, retaining structure will eventually sit on a foundation on the seabed.

MPA engineer Choo Meng Hui said the caissons are also prefabricated on the Phase 1 project site before they are transported out, which contributes to their efficiency. It takes 10 days to build one caisson and the MPA expects to build six a month.

Each caisson is 28m tall, equivalent to the height of a 10-storey HDB block, and weighs 15,000 tonnes, making it one of the largest in the world.

Port waters will, as at current terminals, be managed using next-generation systems that will help vessels avoid congestion and give them the best route to reach the berths safely and efficiently.

Automated port equipment and automated yard cranes will also be key features.

The development of Tuas Terminal will require the reclamation of 294ha of land on the southern edge, for which the MPA will reuse dredged and excavated materials from land construction projects, such as rail infrastructure projects by the Land Transport Authority, as reclamation fill.

This will make up more than 60 per cent of the total fill materials required for the project.

"Reusing such materials, which will otherwise be disposed of as waste, will reduce the quantity of sand fill required for reclamation, thus resulting in significant reclamation-fill material cost savings of about $1 billion," said Mr Tan.

* Full steam ahead for new Tuas mega port
Project proceeding as planned despite industry downturn
By Karamjit Kaur, Senior Aviation Correspondent, The Straits Times, 24 Apr 2017

Works are in full swing at the future Tuas port, with reclamation ongoing for two out of four phases of the development and more than 3km of caisson already installed to form the wharf.

The caisson, which sits on a foundation on the seabed, is a 28m-high concrete watertight structure - about the height of a 10-storey Housing Board block. Using caissons to build the wharf structure is faster than traditional methods like piling.

In all, 8.6km of caisson will have to be constructed under Phase 1 of the Tuas port project, which aims to grow the Singapore port, amid competition from other regional and global ports.

The new Tuas port - which will be twice the size of Ang Mo Kio town - will be opened progressively from 2021. When fully completed by 2040, it will be able to handle up to 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo a year, more than double what the port handled last year.

Work on the port, which will eventually house current operations at Pasir Panjang, Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani container terminals, is proceeding as planned despite the current industry downturn.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) chief executive Andrew Tan told The Straits Times: "As a small and open country, any significant changes in the global economy would affect Singapore."

Still, Singapore has maintained its position as a global port hub and an international maritime centre, despite the current slowdown.

He said: "PSA's volumes are holding steady, vessel arrival tonnage has increased, more ships are being flagged under our registry and bunker volumes remain high."

Reflecting the current industry challenges, the Singapore Maritime Week 2017 officially opened yesterday with the theme Navigating Through Challenging Times.

More than 20,000 maritime professionals, including high-level delegates from port authorities, industry leaders and maritime experts, are expected to attend the programmes throughout this week.

As part of the event, members of the public can take a virtual tour of the Port Operations Control Centre which helps to secure Singapore's waters, and also watch a drone that can analyse the chemical composition of hazardous smoke.

At the opening yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said it is critical for the industry to band together to face challenges. For example, to meet the sector's long-term demand for talent, the Singapore Maritime Foundation is working with government agencies and private companies to offer incentives such as scholarships.

And as part of the move to Tuas, MPA is studying new technologies and automation, including the use of robotics and drones that will not only make port operations more effective and efficient, but also more attractive for those considering joining the industry.

** Tuas mega port will boost Singapore as global maritime hub: PM Lee Hsien Loong
By Fabian Koh, The Straits Times, 17 Oct 2017

While Singapore has enjoyed much success as a maritime hub, it cannot rest on its laurels, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a Facebook post yesterday.

While Singapore has a port in a strategic location, there are "ports in the region competing for business" and "new trade routes opening up", he added.

"The Tuas mega port will strengthen our international maritime hub. We must do all we can to keep the path ahead smooth sailing," said the PM.

He also shared a time-lapse video by Facebook user Jeffhk, which he described as "spectacular". Jeffhk, a seaman on a mega-container ship, took the 10-minute video over 30 days in a journey from the Red Sea across the Indian Ocean, through the Malacca Strait into Singapore, and then across the South China Sea before arriving in Hong Kong.

PM Lee said it was the closest he would get to his dream of sailing on a container ship. "The vastness of the ocean contrasts with the lights and activity in ports, especially PSA Singapore. It's one of the busiest ports in the world, but few of us ever get to see it in action."

The new Tuas port - twice the size of Ang Mo Kio town - will be opened progressively from 2021. When completed by 2040, it can handle up to 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo a year, more than double the 2016 volumes.

***  First phase of Tuas Port completed on 30 November 2021, greener concrete being explored for future phases
By Clement Yong, The Straits Times, 30 Nov 2021

Two berths at Tuas Port will be open for use by the end of the year, with the port's first phase of construction - comprising 21 berths - completed.

The milestone, the culmination of about 34 million hours of work, marks the one-quarter stage of the overall Tuas Port project, which is estimated to cost over $20 billion and is on schedule to be finished by the 2040s.

The opening of Singapore's fifth container port comes at an opportune time, when some of its storage facilities had to be opened ahead of schedule in the past few months to cope with the supply chain crisis.

In September, 2,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of storage space were made available at Tuas Port to store containers that were stuck here awaiting transshipment. Each TEU is the standard dimension of one shipping container.

At 414ha, Tuas Port Phase 1 occupies the size of 773 football fields, and will contribute another 20 million TEUs to Singapore's annual handling capacity, which currently stands at 37.2 million.

The whole of Tuas Port, when completed, will eventually be able to handle 65 million TEUs - nearly double Singapore’s current port capacity.

At a commemoration event on Tuesday (Nov 30), Transport Minister S. Iswaran said that Tuas Port Phase 1's completion was especially hard-earned due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the last two years.

Work on Phase 1 began six years ago, and more than 450 companies were involved in one capacity or another.

"The completion... is a significant milestone, demonstrating our resilience amid adversity," said Mr Iswaran. "With more ships calling here (as a result of the larger capacity), Singapore will enjoy even stronger maritime connectivity. We can harness network effects to import and export more quickly and at a lower cost.

The port was first mooted in 2012 by the Government and is Singapore's fifth container port to be built since Tanjong Pagar Terminal started operations in 1972.

It has been touted as bigger, greener and more technologically advanced than its predecessors, and will consolidate operations now ongoing at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani and Pasir Panjang terminals, reducing the need to shift containers among these.

When completed, Tuas Port is expected to occupy 1,337ha of land, equivalent to three-quarters the size of Singapore's central area or twice the size of Ang Mo Kio town.

Phase 1 was completed by a joint venture of Dredging International Asia Pacific and Daelim Industrial, with Surbana Jurong as the supervising consultant.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Tuesday that Phase 1 construction largely involved land reclamation works as 70 per cent of the space is reclaimed land.

A total of 221 10-storey-high structures called caissons, each about the weight of 8,000 cars, were prefabricated on land, and then laid on the seabed using a vessel to build a sea wall measuring 8.6km.

This process was automated where possible. For example, an automatic rebar machine system was used to bend and cut steel bars used to reinforce the caissons automatically, increasing productivity by 25 per cent.

The single vessel used to lay the caissons on the seabed also reduced the manpower needed by 80 per cent when compared to more conventional methods that rely on multiple smaller vessels and divers.

Together with other innovative uses of technology - such as drones equipped with artificial intelligence processors to survey the land - MPA ultimately saved $1 billion in the building of Tuas Port Phase 1.

Mr Iswaran said environmental concerns were also considered, and this helped to make construction cheaper. More than 50 per cent of the fill materials for Tuas Port Phase 1 were either dredged materials from the seabed or excavated from other construction projects on land.

To balance environmental concerns, coral colonies were relocated to St John's and Sisters' Islands, and the wall surfaces of seven caissons built with cement mortar patches to promote coral growth and marine life.

MPA chairman Niam Chiang Meng said his agency is working with the National Environment Agency to explore using mixed materials from the Semakau Landfill for the next three phases of Tuas Port.

MPA is also looking into the use of greener concrete with lower carbon content to align the project closer with the nation's green plan, Mr Niam said.

Phase 2's reclamation works have already started and will involve 9.1km of caissons.

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