SINGAPORE: Over half a year since work officially began, the first phase of Singapore’s mega-port terminal in Tuas is 20 per cent completed - and this phase will be finished on schedule by December 2020, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in an update on Friday (Dec 9).
The project is managed by DIAP-Daelim Joint Venture under a S$2.42 billion agreement.
A key feature of the new port are caissons, which line the docks where ships will call at. According to MPA, the structures are suited for the Tuas facility due to its shallow sea bed.
Each caisson is about 28 metres tall, equivalent to the height of a 10-storey Housing and Development Board (HDB) block, making it one of the largest such structures in the world.
Since construction on Phase 1 started in April, 30 out of a total of 222 caissons have been built.
With each one weighing 15,000 tonnes, engineers have had to ensure foundations are strong enough to support the massive structures, according to Gert De Smet, project director at DIAP-Daelim Joint Venture.
"The main challenge we are facing is that we are working towards very stringent and strict tolerances, and these, in water depths of up to 27 metres," he said.
The prefabricated caissons are made on site in a two-lane assembly line and it takes 24 days for a caisson to be completed.
WARY OF HICCUPS
While on track for end-2020, MPA said it is still too early to tell if the project can be completed ahead of schedule.
Su Ziheng, civil engineer at MPA’s New Port Development Department said authorities are keeping a close watch on possible hiccups, which could include a sudden slowdown in supply of excavated materials from the construction industry. The material is recycled in the Phase 1 of Tuas Terminal project as fill materials for reclamation.
Mr Su said: "Currently, the risk is kept low as we are working closely with our counterparts and are constantly kept aware of the supply volume.
“However, in the event of a slowdown of the supply, we are still able to mitigate the risk by using more dredged materials in place of excavated materials."
Dredging materials are collected with the help of the state-of-the-art dredging machine called Gosho.
While typical grab dredgers swallow van-sized mouthfuls of dirt, Gosho is capable of scooping up the equivalent of a whole double-decker bus with ease, according to engineers.
The use of such a machine helps reduce the number of grab dredgers needed for the project, and helps speed up the construction process.
When completed, the facility will be able to handle about 20 million standard-sized container units yearly and will have a total capacity of 65 million units.