SINGAPORE - Reclamation works for the first phase of the Tuas port are three-quarters complete, with the last of the caissons - 15,000-tonne structures that form wharves - being installed on Tuesday afternoon (April 23).
The installation of the 221st structure - the caissons make up some 8.6km of seawalls at Tuas - puts the construction of the first phase of the mega-port on track to be completed in 2021.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is on track to hand over the land required for PSA Corporation to start building the container terminals, with the first two berths to start operating by 2021, said MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon at the event.
She noted the first phase - a $2.42-billion project by DIAP-Daelim, a joint venture between Belgian firm Dredging International Asia Pacific and Korean outfit Daelim Industrial - will have 21 deep-water berths, which will allow the port to handle about 20 million 20ft equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo annually.
Among the innovations used in the construction was the TemaRock, a rock mound construction vessel developed for the Tuas project by DIAP-Daelim.
Caissons are typically placed on rock mounds on the sea floor.
These rock mounds would usually require four vessels, 45 workers including divers, and up to 132 hours to construct for a project as big as the first phase of the Tuas port.
The TemaRock - a name made up of Temasek and rock - does the work of all four vessels, and required only 66 hours to construct the rock mounds with only eight workers, without needing divers.
A special machine was also used to bend and cut reinforcement steel bars, which are used to strengthen concrete. The process is usually done manually, exposing workers to hazards.
Solutions such as these helped make the construction work safer and more efficient, said Ms Quah.
Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, who witnessed the installation of the final caisson, congratulated the engineering team and commended their spirit of innovation.
In her speech, Ms Quah said the Tuas port must be a smarter one, catering to the shipping landscape of the future, and noted MPA is working with partners to develop new digital systems for Singapore's port.
When fully operational in the 2040s, the new port is expected to be able to handle some 65 million TEUs.
"This will strengthen our global hub port status and more importantly, allow us to plug into the growing intra-Asia trade and global supply chain," said Ms Quah.