We refer to Mr Vasudivan Sunappan's letter, "Current checkpoint not fully utilised" (June 24).
Both arrival and departure vehicular and human traffic through Woodlands Checkpoint were particularly heavy that morning due to the June school holidays, exacerbated by the usual morning peak.
Mr Vasudivan thus indeed experienced a slightly longer waiting time, about an hour, before arriving at Woodlands Checkpoint.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) monitors arrival and departure traffic conditions in real time and adopts a dynamic approach in managing the situation.
We deploy officers and resources to areas which require more support to manage traveller volume.
Clearance lanes, too, will be converted flexibly for different modes of conveyance, in response to traffic conditions.
To manage the heavier traffic from cars departing the checkpoint for Malaysia, as well as arriving lorries, buses and motorcycles, our officers were dynamically deployed to clear these modes of traffic first.
This was the reason why Mr Vasudivan had observed that only three out of 10 car counters were open in his zone for cars arriving from Malaysia. After the traffic in other zones had improved, more officers were redeployed to clear arriving cars.
We hope that travellers can understand that we have a finite number of officers, and they are already maximally deployed across various parts of the checkpoints when on duty.
ICA has been studying ways to improve travellers' experience while maintaining security.
We are leveraging technology to do so, and will be introducing the New Clearance Concept at all checkpoints from 2023. This will allow the majority of travellers to clear immigration through automated lanes. It will also significantly reduce the reliance on manpower for clearance.
The redeveloped Woodlands Checkpoint will also have more automated clearance lanes for buses, cars, motorcycles and lorries. This could alleviate congestion and reduce travel time by up to 75 per cent during peak periods.
Head, Public Communications and Protocol
Corporate Communications and Service Division
Immigration and Checkpoints Authority