Port of Singapore makes container comeback

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AFTER a long slump in container and cargo volumes, the Port of Singapore has finally recovered after it registered a 1.6 percent growth in May compared to the same period last year to 2.655 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).

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TEU is the standard unit for describing a ship’s cargo carrying capacity, or a shipping terminal’s cargo handling capacity. A standard 40-foot container is equivalent to two TEUs.

According to The Strait Times, it was the first year-on-year rise in 15 months and 5.4 percent higher than April’s figure.

Similarly, total cargo output in May was also up to 7.7 percent from last year to 52.257 million tons, which is also 1.9 percent higher than April this year as per initial estimates from Maritime and Port Authority, the report added.

It was earlier reported by Port Tecnology Inc. (PTI) that volumes at the Port of Singapore had dropped for the fourth consecutive year.

The series of volume decline was attributed to the alliance forged by six of the world’s largest multi-services shipping companies, which is seen to revolutionize the maritime industry in the next five years and beyond.

Last year, the alliances shifted transshipment volumes from Singapore to Malaysia’s Port of Tanjung Pelapas and Port Klas.

“The mega shipping alliances which had been rapidly changing are now stabilized. The impact of the shift has since ceased and the Port of Singapore is now growing in line with the overall market,” according to Jason Chiang, director of Ocean Shipping Consultants.

The development came as Singapore moves to become the next generation’s mega-port by consolidating all its container ports activities at Tuas Terminal for a more efficient port operation, and in the process will also free-up prime land occupied by terminals in the city area for redevelopment.

At present, Singapore has five container terminals located in Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Barni, and Pasir Panjang Terminals 1 and 2.

The merger of said terminals will lessen transshipment time, lessen business cost, and eliminate road congestion.

According to Singapore’s Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, the new port will have more advance technology and processes to meet future challenges.

He added that the Tuas Port project will be rolled out in phases, with the first set of berths to be operational in about 10 years.

Once completed, the Tuas Port will be able to handle up to 65 million TEUs a year or nearly double the current total container handling capacity of 35 million TEUs.

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