Tuas Port to be world's largest fully automated terminal when completed in 2040

The Tuas Port site in the south-western corner of Singapore is about twice the size of Ang Mo Kio. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The new Tuas Port will use automated technology to carry out its key operations as Singapore sets out to reinvigorate and reimagine the maritime industry.

When fully completed in 2040, the mega port will be the world's largest fully automated terminal, boasting features such as automated wharf and yard functions, and full-electric automated guided vehicles, port operator PSA said on Thursday (Oct 3).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during the ground-breaking ceremony for the new terminal on Thursday that the move to Tuas goes beyond just having a larger terminal.

"Tuas Port is also an opportunity to peer over the horizon and rethink the future of shipping. Because the port will be on a completely greenfield site, we can design from a clean slate and make innovation and sustainability key features."

He said that while building the new mega port and its ecosystem is an immense undertaking, it can be achieved if "we have the same daring and ambition as our pioneer generation of port planners and engineers".

PSA needs to draw the best minds to maintain its dynamism and to match its competitors who are also investing in automation and expanding rapidly, he added.

"I hope younger Singaporeans will seriously consider careers at PSA, MPA (Maritime and Port Authority), or one of the other companies in our maritime ecosystem," said PM Lee. "You have the opportunity to write the next chapter of Singapore's maritime history, and fill it with your hopes and dreams."

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Besides just handling containers, the port will have space set aside for companies to be located, a move that could improve the links between port and businesses.

PM Lee added that there are long term plans to improve the transport connectivity in the area, but that these would "take some time".

"Meanwhile, I want to assure all PSA staff that the Government is working closely with PSA and the unions to make sure that you can get to work comfortably and conveniently," he said.

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According to the MPA, the maritime industry contributes about 7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product, and employs about 170,000 people.

PM Lee said PSA makes "a much wider contribution to the economy than most other companies", and reminded it of the need to pursue both short-term profitability and long-term viability and competitiveness.

The Tuas Port site in the south-western corner of Singapore is about twice the size of Ang Mo Kio.

It is being developed in four phases, with construction work on the second phase having begun in July this year. The whole project will cost well over $20 billion.

Its first berths are scheduled to start operating in 2021. PSA's three city terminals at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani will move by 2027. By 2040, Pasir Panjang Terminal will be consolidated at the mega port too.

With 26km of deepwater berths that can handle 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units annually, the mega port will be able to cater to the demands of the world's largest container ships.

PM Lee noted that the capacity of container ships has increased over the years, and Tuas Port will be able to accommodate them, along with even bigger ones yet to be built.

"The first container ship to dock in Singapore, the MV Nihon, could carry around 2,000 containers. Today's largest container ships can carry more than 10 times that - 24,000 containers."

PM Lee Hsien Loong placing a torch on the grounds of Tuas Port to symbolise the start of a new and exciting chapter in the nation's rich maritime history. Group chairman of PSA International Peter Voser (second from left), Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan (third from right) and Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min (second from right) also attended the event. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

To boost efficiency, productivity and environmental sustainability, Tuas Port will have intelligent data-driven operations management systems and smart engineering and power management platforms.

Mr Peter Voser, group chairman of PSA International, said the Tuas project is an opportunity for PSA to take the lead in transforming the industry by going beyond just physical port infrastructure, into complementary logistics capabilities and integrated digital systems.

"As we continue to pioneer new and exciting integration concepts in the supply chain, we see them as enablers of tight global connections, as well as supporting Singapore as a key international maritime centre and a centre for technology research and development," said Mr Voser.

On Thursday morning, about 500 PSA employees held a torch relay, starting from its first container berth in Tanjong Pagar Terminal to Tuas Port, passing through Keppel, Brani and Pasir Panjang terminals.

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