Singapore Boosts Container Handling Capacity As More Ships Call

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  • According to the global port congestion indicator, 6.8% of the global fleet is currently affected.
  • PSA Singapore is addressing the severe port congestion by reactivating old berths at Keppel Terminal.
  • The congestion has severely disrupted vessel schedules, caused equipment shortages, lengthened transit times, and increased freight rates. The situation can intensify in the coming weeks with the peak shipping season approaching.

To increase the cargo handling capacity of the Port of Singapore, the first of the three additional berths at the new mega port became operational on July 1, reports Marine Insight.

Singapore port ramps up container handling capacity

The step was taken to prevent further congestion at the local terminals as many container ships waited for their turns to berth at the port. The two other Tuas Port berths will become operational in October and December of this year.

These new berthing facilities are a part of the phased opening of the Tuas Port, where nine container handling berths have already begun operations, including the one which opened on July, 1.

Early this year, PSA, the port operator decided to reopen some of the previously closed berths at the Keppel and Tanjong Pagar city terminals as work was underway to move operations to the Tuas Port by 2027.

Its Pasir Panjang Terminal will remain operational to enable a smooth transition to the Tuas Port, which is equipped to handle 65 million TEUs when completed in the 2040s, making it the biggest automated port in the world.

PSA is striving to increase container handling capacity to reduce waiting times for arriving container ships, most of which are off-schedule, given the Red Sea crisis.

Ships are taking a longer route around the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa and the majority of African ports do not have the adequate infrastructure to cope with many ships simultaneously.

Additionally, PSA which operates 66 sea and coastal terminals worldwide does not operate any terminals in Africa and so many ships are reaching Singapore at the same time.

Container Lines are using Singapore as a transhipment facility to unload their cargo bound for other ports in the area and to rearrange containers on their ships before going back to Europe.

This means ships stay at the port for longer times than usual, causing increasing waiting times for other incoming ships, causing congestion at the port.

However, this has led to greater container volumes being handled at the port and reportedly, capacity will be scaled up in the coming months to meet the booming demand and authorities will ensure there are sufficient port workers to keep the expanding operations going smoothly, said Mr Chee.

He added that the Red Sea situation might not end soon and that disruptions could also increase by a rise in container volumes as companies bring export schedules out of the Asian Continent and prepare for holidays in the latter half of the year.

Deputy Prime Minister Gan Kim Yong noted that total trade rose by 14.2% in May; exports rose by 12.6% and imports by 16%. The manufacturing output of Singapore also increased by almost 3% in the same period.

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Source: Marine Insight