Tuas Mega Port
The building of the Tuas Mega Port, announced in October 2012, is well underway with work on Phase 1 beginning in the spring of 2016. This first phase, which is scheduled for completion shortly after 2020, will comprise 20 deep-water berths, and will be followed by 3 subsequent phases due to be completed around 2040.
The project will create one consolidated port, to replace the five current container terminals, namely Pasir Panjang Terminals 1 and 2, Brani, Keppel and Tanjong Pagar. It is a mammoth task, but one that is essential if Singapore is to remain at the forefront of international shipping for decades to come.
The impact that shipping has had on Singapore and its economy cannot be overstated. It has been one of the major contributing factors to achieving first world status, and the maritime industry as a whole contributes approximately 7% to the nation’s GDP. Put another way, the industry – with the port at its heart, is responsible for 10% of the service sector, a sector that makes up 75% of the economy.
The combined terminals currently manage around 35 million containers a year – enough to stretch around the planet more than four times over. When fully operational, the new mega port – which will require an additional 294 hectares of reclaimed land, will be handle 65 million containers a year, an increase of more than 85% capacity. But that isn’t the only reason for the need for change.
Currently, containers that arrive in Singapore and need to be transhipped are often required to be transported between terminals on trucks. This dramatically increases the time and cost of the operation, not to mention the road congestion caused. By consolidating all the terminals in one place, this will cut out all three of those factors. Additionally, the industry is changing rapidly. Ships are getting larger and more complex – and will continue to do so, and there is a rise in the use of alternative fuels, such as LNG. A modern port needs to be able to cater for all of these new demands.
There is also competition, as demonstrated by the opening in 1999 of the Tanjung Pelepas port in Johor, which saw a reduction in cargo going through Singapore of 10%. Singapore needs to make sure it is ready and prepared for these and other challenges that lay ahead. A brand new terminal is the easiest way to achieve this, as opposed to constantly adding to and updating existing outdated or soon to be outdated technology and processes.
Finally, the building of a new port on the south east tip of the island frees up a considerable amount of prime land (future Greater Southern Waterfront) where the Pasir Panjang and Tanjong Pagar Terminals are currently located. This land will be used for much sought after residential and mixed use developments.
By creating a port that is as futureproof as possible, and also one that can be run as efficiently as possible, Singapore is demonstrating that it will continue to be a major player in both the region, and the world when it comes to the shipping and container industry.
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