Plans for Tuas port in keeping with status as global port city

There is nothing incongruous about fusing port operations with retail and lifestyle facilities, as long as this is conceptualised, integrated and executed with finesse - including taking into account key security considerations (Ports are dangerous places for public, by Ms Lynne Tan Sok Hiang; April 7; Tuas port's focus should be on port-related work, by Ms Wee Kwee Keng; April 5, and Tuas mega port may have lively area for leisure; April 2).

Such reinvention of a seaport would be similar in some ways to how airports have evolved from being mere way stations into lifestyle destinations.

It is most certainly at home with Singapore's pedigree as an innovative global port city over the decades - a fact that we should showcase at Tuas with, say, an experiential maritime museum-cum-laboratory.

For example, can our upcoming seaport at Tuas also accommodate seaplanes for the purposes of cargo and even passenger traffic to the surrounding archipelago?

Another possibility would be converting some of the old warehouses between Tuas and Jurong ports into fulfilment centres for global e-commerce giants as well as vertical farms for seafood and ornamental fish.

A transporter bridge resembling a gantry crane may be constructed to ferry visitors to the grounds of a resort hotel that is built around the existing infrastructure of the soon-to-be vacated Jurong Bird Park.

I visited one such bridge in Bilbao, Spain, 15 years ago. One can imagine an iteration of the Vizcaya Bridge, which has since become a Unesco World Heritage Site, linking the Tuas and Jurong port areas as a complement to the upcoming metamorphosis of the Jurong Lake district into an exciting lifestyle cluster.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2017, with the headline 'Plans for Tuas port in keeping with status as global port city'. Print Edition | Subscribe