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First Berths at Singapore's Gigantic Tuas Port Set Enter Service

MPA singapore
MPA Singapore file image

Published Dec 3, 2021 10:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

Singapore is cementing its position as a Far East maritime powerhouse with the announcement that the first two berths at its futuristic Tuas Port will commence operation this month.

Officials said the reclamation works for the first phase of the $20 billion facility have been completed, paving the way for operationalization of the first two berths by the end of this year.  

The development is set to enhance Singapore’s position as a transshipment hub. More than 90 percent of containers in the country are transit cargo, and its piers help connect more than 600 ports in over 120 countries. As an industry hub, Singapore is also home to more than 5,000 maritime establishments.

“Trade is our lifeblood and that’s why we invest heavily to be ahead of the game, to be relevant. We invest to stay abreast of the latest technologies that can help us be competitive, be it on autonomous vessels, on decarbonization and being green, or sustainable fuels. It’s about being relevant for the future,” said Niam Chiang Meng, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) chairman.

When fully built out, Tuas Port phase one will have 21 deep-water berths with a capacity to handle 20 million TEU annually.

The project, which took four years of continuous planning and six years of engineering work, is being implemented by Dredging International Asia Pacific – Daelim Industrial Joint Venture Pte Ltd. Construction entailed soil improvement work on 1,000 acres of land, including 725 acres of newly reclaimed land. Contractors also carried out the fabrication and installation of 221 10-story tall caissons, each weighing 15,000 tons, to form more than five miles of seawall. 

The project involved a total of 34 million man-hours, with the support of over 450 companies. It saw the use of the world’s largest grab dredger, “Gosho," with a grab capacity of 7,000 cubic feet, to deepen the Tuas basins and the Temasek Fairway.

“The completion of phase 1 reclamation for Tuas Port is a significant milestone, demonstrating our resilience amidst adversity, and affirming Singapore’s status as a reliable global hub port trusted by partners. It also signals Singapore’s readiness for the future,” said S Iswaran, Minister for Transport.

According to MPA, construction of phase 2’s reclamation works are ongoing as scheduled while planning for phase 3 has commenced. When completed in the 2040s over four phases, Tuas port will be capable of handling 65 million TEU annually, making it to be the world’s largest container terminal.

This will be almost double Singapore’s current port capacity, which stands at 37.2 million TEU.

Tuas port was first proposed in 2012, and it is Singapore's fifth container port. The facility is designed as an automated, intelligent and sustainable port that will have electrified automated yard cranes and driverless automated guided vehicles that will transport containers between the yard and wharf.

It will also harness digital technologies like next generation vessel traffic management systems, which will open new horizons for maritime safety, security and efficiency - particularly in reducing the turnaround time of ships.