Monday, 12 February 2018

Why Singapore needs Mega Ports?

Why Singapore needs Changi Airport Terminal 5, to fly higher

One question Mr Ong Chee Chiau gets asked a lot is why Terminal 5 will be so big - Changi Airport’s largest terminal by far - as opposed to building 3 smaller ones gradually.

The latter “seems like a logical thing to do”, said Mr Ong, who is part of the T5 planning team & a senior vice president with Changi Airport Group (CAG).

But that would mean three sets of ticket counters, directing passengers to the correct terminals, & being able to have staff switch terminals quickly or have aircraft change positions as and when needed.

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Why Singapore needs Tuas mega port to keep ruling the seas
In the heart of port operator PSA’s newly expanded Pasir Panjang Terminal, the Republic’s long-term maritime ambitions are being put to the test

A fleet of 30 driverless vehicles deployed to move cargo containers around the terminal are in the vanguard for the move to the Tuas mega port. Over 1,000 of these battery-powered 4-wheelers will be developed for Singapore’s future port.

Towering above these vehicles is the world’s largest fleet of automated yard cranes - numbering nearly 200. At Tuas, that figure will rise to almost 1,000.

These are just 2 examples of the automation systems that PSA is looking at with Tuas in mind. And the lessons to be learned will be vital.

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Looking Ahead

In this fast changing world, how can a small nation like Singapore stay relevant? How do we compete with the world? In this one-hour episode, we look at two projects that will up our game - T5 at Changi East and the Tuas mega port.

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‘We are not done building Singapore’: Build for the future but be prudent, says Heng Swee Keat

Growing the economy & enhancing the liveability of Singapore will require continued spending on infrastructure developments, but these will have to be done with prudence.

This is according to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat who spoke to Channel NewsAsia’s current affairs special Looking Ahead, part one of which airs Feb 7 at 8pm.

While challenging, infrastructure planning must take on a long-term view with continued investments to keep the country’s infrastructure developments running efficiently.

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New rail routes between China and Europe will change trade patterns
The new Silk Railroad will challenge airlines and shipping firms

ASTANA in Kazakhstan is one of the world’s most remote capitals, surrounded by thousands of kilometres of empty steppe. This summer Astana attempted to launch itself onto the global stage by hosting the World Expo, which closed on September 10th and underwhelmed many attendees. But there are other ways to have an impact. On the city’s north side, away from the Expo’s exhibits, a series of diesel trains, each pulling dozens of containers, roll through the old railway station. Most are heading from China to Europe. Last year over 500,000 tonnes of freight went by train between the two, up from next to nothing before 2013. Airlines and shipping firms are watching things closely.

The trains rumbling through Astana result from a Chinese initiative, in tandem with countries like Kazakhstan, to build a “New Silk Road” through Central Asia. The earlier overland routes were once the conduits for most trade between Europe and China and India; they faded into irrelevance when European ships started circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope.

China has long wanted to develop its inland regions and push industry to “go west”, in order to spread economic growth more evenly. Manufacturers have been loth to shift, in part because of the higher cost of moving goods to ports for export. Developing a rail-freight network to Europe—an important part of China’s “One Belt One Road” policy—opens up a new route to market for its poorest areas. The land route through Central Asia is relatively short. A container ship too large for the Suez canal must make a 24,000km journey to reach Europe. Trains travel no more than 11,000km to reach the same destination.

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JM Chow's Comment in Channel NewsAsia: Proposed Kra Canal not current government project - Thailand
Is the Kra canal needed now ? No

Let's review the background for the Kra proposal. When the US military made Changi naval base as its hub of operations not long ago..there was talks about the Malacca Straits be closed to China commercial shipping, if things turn nasty in the South China Sea ... meaning over 70% of import and export .... to and from China will be badly affected ... China economy will be destroyed. China approached Thailand ... to open a canal at Kra ... for its shipping, to bypass Singapore where US military operations is based. Under extreme pressure from the USA, Thailand refused.

Then China arranged with Malaysia (not so friendly with the USA)...for a bullet train to be build between Malacca (Klang) and Kuantan ..... and for the port at Klang, a deep sea port on an Island adjacent to Malacca, and the port at Kuatan.... to be upgraded to super ports (as good as Shanghai) by China. The super port at Malacca will be ready by 2019 and the high speed train will be ready soon after that. From then on, if necessary, containers could be unloaded from ships, transfered onto bullet train and reloaded on ships at Kuantan...all in 24 hours. If this happened, it will be a huge economic boom...for Malaysia.

With this bullet train and port upgrades in Malaysia...China will no longer need the Kra canel. The USA can no longer threaten to destroy the economy of China ...by closing the Malacca Straits to China shipping.

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Full steam ahead for new Tuas mega port
The Tuas Terminal will be developed in four phases over 30 years, with Phase 1 scheduled to be completed by the early 2020s. ST GRAPHICS

Works are in full swing at the future Tuas port, with reclamation ongoing for 2 out of 4 phases of the development and more than 3km of caisson already installed to form the wharf.

The caisson, which sits on a foundation on the seabed, is a 28m-high concrete watertight structure - about the height of a 10-storey Housing Board block. Using caissons to build the wharf structure is faster than traditional methods like piling.

In all, 8.6km of caisson will have to be constructed under Phase 1 of the Tuas port project, which aims to grow the Singapore port, amid competition from other regional & global ports.

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Could Singapore’s port become irrelevant?
Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore chief executive Andrew Tan says the emergence of alternative trade routes could affect trade flowing through the Strait of Malacca & Singapore, but the Republic's stable government, long-term & forward thinking, reliability & good track record are strong attributes to help it stay ahead of the competition. ST FOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Work is well under way to secure Singapore's future as a key port of call - most prominently in the form of the new Tuas mega port.

But these efforts may be met with some serious competition as neighbouring countries such as Malaysia & Indonesia take on or plan for a range of large-scale infrastructure projects that will vie for transhipment business in the region.

Malaysia, for instance, wants to build a giant port on an island next to its main Port Klang, while a new East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) has been touted as an "alternative trade route" that could see a projected 53 million tonnes of cargo bypass Singapore annually by 2030.

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related:
Singapore as a 21st century maritime silk road
Could Singapore’s port become irrelevant?
Key to success of the Maritime Silk Road
Singapore Stumbles on China's Road
The Belt And Road Initiative: A new way forward
The New Silk Road 新絲綢之路
Another Singapore Next To Singapore?
Malaysia's ECR touted as a game changer
Arctic shipping: The Northwest Passage
The "One Belt, One Road" 一带一路 initiative
Why Singapore needs Mega Ports?