Singapore puts automated port development front, centre
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the development of the world’s largest automated container port in his annual National Day Rally speech at the weekend.
In his nationally broadcast speech PM Lee noted that the country’s seaport and airport played a “critical role” in putting the city state on the global stage.
A decade ago Singapore took the decision to consolidate the existing container terminals at Tanjong Pagar, Brani, Keppel and Pasir Panjang, that make up the world’s second largest boxport, into a single new facility located in Tuas in the far west of the island, indeed on land which was yet to be reclaimed.
The first two berths of Tuas Port started operations in December last year and PM Lee credited the country’s forward planning and investment in port infrastructure enabling it to handle the demand surges associated with the Covid pandemic.
“Because we had planned ahead, our port was able to handle extra volumes during the pandemic,” the Prime Minister stated.
“While ports in other countries experienced closures, severe congestion and long delays, but PSA, our port remained open 24/7 throughout. This reinforced Singapore’s position as the “catch-up port” where vessels made up time for delays elsewhere,” he added.
The new Tuas Port is fully automated using driverless AGVs (automated guided vehicles), and driverless cranes. AI is also used to coordinate terminal operations more seamlessly, including vessel traffic management and port clearance.
The first phase of Tuas Port is now complete, with a further three phases to come over the next 20 years with a total handling capacity of 65m teu, almost double the 37.5m teu Singapore handled last year.
“We will have the world’s largest fully automated port, and that should make us a leading global player in the maritime space,” PM Lee stated.
Meanwhile Tanjong Pagar Terminal the island’s first container terminal, which opened 50 years ago has already been decommissioned and slated for future waterfront development.