PSA Corp officially opened Tuas Port on Sept 1, with the port’s first three berths now in operation and set to become the world’s largest fully automated port when completed in the 2040s.
The port, which already has 500 staff working on site, will have an annual handling capacity of 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) when fully operational. This figure is almost double Singapore’s handling capacity at present with its existing terminals of Tanjong Pagar, Brani, Keppel and Pasir Panjang, which will all be progressively consolidated at Tuas.
Speaking at the official opening of Tuas Port, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterates that Singapore’s decision to push forward with the construction of Tuas Port sends a “clear signal” to the world that Singapore is open for business.
Thanks to forward planning, the Port of Singapore was able to handle extra volumes during the pandemic, remaining open throughout the pandemic amidst “upheavals” in global supply chains. This has reinforced Singapore’s position as the “catch-up port” for shippers and shipping lines to resolve operational challenges, says Lee.
Tuas Port, says Lee, will be a “critical engine” driving Singapore’s economy, reinforcing Singapore's status as an international maritime centre. “This will position Singapore well to support the growth in maritime traffic and global trade, and strengthen our connectivity and capability to provide efficient and reliable services,” he says.
The port will also encompass an extensive and well-connected supply chain and logistics ecosystem in the Tuas area, along Singapore's western seaboard that includes the Jurong Lake District, Jurong Innovation District and the Jurong and Tuas industrial areas.
“Being closer to the port means faster and cheaper port services. This means more efficient production, and quicker turnaround for their products to be exported to international markets. Sectors such as advanced manufacturing, cold-chain, e-commerce, and logistics will benefit the most,” says Lee.
PSA International group chairman Peter Voser says that beyond just connecting cargo, the port will also “connect communities”, and “help to better manage trade flows for cargo owners to move their goods with greater ease and efficiency”.
Lee points out the port, which is to be run using new automated and digitised systems, has spurred its workers to pick up new skills to handle the next generation of hardware and software deployed in the new port.
Tuas Port uses artificial intelligence (AI), including a fleet of driverless AGVs (automated guided vehicles), to coordinate operations more seamlessly, including vessel traffic management and port clearance.
Voser says that PSA’s work with the Singapore Port Workers Union and the Port Officers Union has played a “pivotal role” in rallying workers to embrace advancements along the way. “Because of our shared vision, our people are confident and well-prepared for the better jobs that we have created for a digital future,” he adds.
The use of AGVs to transport cargo around Tuas Port also ties into its focus of an integrated green supply chain ecosystem, which will be augmented by cross-industry collaboration with like-minded partners to spur collective action towards supply chain sustainability.
“Sustainability is also a key cornerstone of our business philosophy. That is why Tuas Port is designed and constructed with sustainability in mind which will enable our partners and customers to make greener logistics choices, for the betterment of our planet,” explains Voser, adding that the drive towards better sustainability will be an on-going one as the port aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
According to Voser, Tuas Port’s opening marks the “exciting beginning of a new era”, and one that will be driven by harnessing digitalisation and innovation as PSA works towards greater industry-wide collaboration and sustainability.