SINGAPORE: A number of transport infrastructure projects in Singapore could be delayed if the COVID-19 outbreak drags on, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament on Thursday (Mar 5).
"For now, the delay to project timelines is still manageable," he said during the Committee of Supply debate. "But if the outbreak drags on, it could disrupt the supply of construction equipment and materials."
Following start of the outbreak in China late last year, authorities have put Chinese cities in lockdown, keeping hundreds of thousands of workers at home.
China's main manufacturing hubs only started crawling back to life near the end of February, as workers returned to work after parts of the country eased travel curbs. Most of Singapore's imports come from China.
"As China locks down, global supply chains are also disrupted," Mr Khaw said, noting that Singapore's newer trains are being built in China.
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Mr Khaw said the disruption in supply chains could impact the timeline for projects like Terminal 5, Tuas Port, new MRT stations and the next-generation Electronic Road Pricing system.
"We are also tracking the impact on our transport infrastructure projects," he stated.
Nevertheless, Mr Khaw believes the outbreak will eventually "burn out", adding that sooner or later, Singapore's economy and industries will recover.
The minister said that Singapore will press on with its infrastructure plans, highlighting its "extensive" line-up of construction projects over the next five years.
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This includes the development of Terminal 5 that is "well underway", and the Tuas port that is expected to be fully completed in the 2040s to be the world’s single largest fully automated container terminal.
"Together, these investments will grow our external connectivity to seize growth in the global transport of goods and people," Mr Khaw said.