SINGAPORE: The Tuas Terminal mega port will commence its first phase of operations in 2021 with two berths for ships.
This was revealed by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) which also said that it had reached a construction milestone for the project following the installation of the 221st and final caisson on Tuesday (Apr 23).
A caisson is a prefabricated box-like concrete structure, around the height of a 10-storey HDB block, that is transported offshore and then sunk into water to form part of the permanent wharf line.
MPA said the installation of the final caisson was “critical” as it enabled the completion of the wharf construction and for the first few berths to be operationally ready. The usage of caissons compared to conventional piling to create a deep foundation results in improved quality of the wharf structure, added MPA.
The authority added that the foundational land created from land reclamation processes and the laying of caissons will be transferred to PSA, so that the port operator can begin construction on container yards and terminal facilities.
MPA also said that the two berths at Tuas Terminal will operate alongside existing container terminals at Pasir Panjang, Keppel and Brani which will be progressively shut down when their leases expire and Singapore’s port operations are consolidated at Tuas Terminal from 2027.
READ: Why Singapore needs Tuas mega port to keep ruling the seas
PSA told CNA that the berths at Tuas will increase its total handling capacity and complement current port operations. They will be able to handle what it describes as “mega container vessels”, including “the world’s largest container vessel”, PSA added.
Construction for Phase 1 of Tuas Terminal commenced in 2015 and cost S$2.42 billion, with 294 hectares of land reclaimed, MPA said. It will feature 21 deep-water berths that can handle about 20 million standard-sized container units yearly.
Meanwhile, Tuas Terminal will continue to be developed in another three phases, and is targeted to be fully operational from 2040. The facility can eventually handle up to 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo annually.
“The capacity of up to 65 million TEUs per annum enables us to meet future demands and to maintain Singapore’s competitive edge, strengthening our Global Hub Port status. When (the) Tuas container terminal is fully developed in 2040s, it will become the world’s largest container terminal located in a single location,” said Mr Tham Wai Wah, MPA’s chief engineer and director of engineering & project management.
KEY INNOVATIONS USED TO CONSTRUCT TUAS TERMINAL
The MPA also highlighted that it developed five other innovations in the construction of the Tuas Terminal, besides the usage of caissons.
One such innovation was that of deploying a specially designed and fitted vessel called the “TEMAROCK”, a next generation, all-in-one rock mound construction vessel that automates the process of rock laying, rock compacting, as well as underwater surveying. Conventional processes require multiple vessels as well as the assistance of divers.
MPA said that the deployment of the “TEMAROCK” resulted in safer operations, less manpower, a reduction in material wastage and a 50 per cent reduction in caisson installation time.
The project also saw the re-using of materials such as excavated earth from land construction projects as an eco-friendlier approach. This, MPA said, reduces the quantity of sand required for reclamation by around 70 per cent for Phase 1 and 50 per cent for Phase 2. MPA expects to achieve cost savings of around S$2 billion.