The world’s biggest fully-automated port will be in Singapore come 2040.
Employing over 170,000 people, the new Tuas Port will be utilising automated technology in carrying out its major operations, as Singapore sets out to breathe new life and reinvent its maritime industry.
Upon its completion, it will be twice the size of Ang Mo Kio, and will have features such as automated wharf and yard functions and fully-electric automated guided vehicles. This was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the groundbreaking ceremony of port operator PSA’s new terminal.
The port will vastly ramp up Singapore’s cargo capacity and create new and different jobs. Tuas Port will also be able to cater to the demands of the world’s largest container ships, with 26km of deepwater berths.
Improving links between businesses & ports
More than just handling containers, the port will have spaces set aside for companies to be located, a step that could vastly enhance linkages between ports and businesses.
“It also gives us more room to create customised logistical arrangements, for example, inter-modal sea-air cargo to take advantage of our air hub as well,” said PM Lee.
The new port is crucial as the maritime industry contributes about 7% of Singapore’s gross domestic product. Such contribution could scale up as the new port and will be able to handle 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units annually – almost double last year’s 36 million TEUs. TEU is the unit of measurement for cargo capacity.
“Tuas Port is also an opportunity to peer over the horizon and rethink the future of shipping,” PM Lee added.
“Because the port will be on a completely greenfield site, we can design from a clean slate and make innovation and sustainability key features.”
The mega port is being developed in four phases, with construction work on the second phase having begun in July this year. The whole project will cost over S$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 Terminals will be consolidated at the mega port too. With the port’s capacity almost doubling, more jobs are likely to be created despite the automation.
But Dr Loh Hui Shan, lecturer in the logistics and supply chain management programme at Singapore University of Social Sciences’ business school, said these are likely to be new types of jobs for which port workers may have to learn new skills and become more comfortable with technology. It will also open up a lot of possibilities in terms of the sustainability of the facility, she said.-/TISG