The Busiest Ports in the World and How they Handle Operations – Part II (Singapore)

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Image Courtesy: Port of Singapore

The Port of Singapore is world’s second-busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage, it also trans-ships a fifth of the world’s shipping containers, half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil, and is the world’s busiest transshipment port. It was also the busiest port in terms of total cargo tonnage handled until 2005, when it was surpassed by the Port of Shanghai. Thousands of ships drop anchor in the harbour, connecting the port to over 600 other ports in 123 countries and spread over six continents.

The Port of Singapore is located on the southern end of the Malay Peninsula, about 30km south-west of the Port of Johor in Malaysia. It is the largest publicly owned port in the world.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regulates and licenses port and marine services and facilities. It also manages vessel traffic in the Singapore port while ensuring safety and security.

Singapore has two main commercial port terminal operators, namely PSA Corporation Limited and Jurong Port. The Port of Singapore includes terminals located at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani, Pasir Panjang, Sembawang and Jurong. They can accommodate all types of vessels, including container ships, bulk carries, ro-ro ships, cargo freighters, coasters and lighters.

The terminals are managed by two commercial port operators – PSA Singapore Terminals, which manages the major share of container handling in Singapore and Jurong Port Pte Ltd, which is Singapore’s main bulk and conventional cargo terminal operator.

PSA Singapore terminals

PSA Singapore Terminals operates four container terminals with a total of 52 berths at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani, and Pasir Panjang as one seamless and integrated facility.

Its newest terminal, Pasir Panjang Terminal (PPT), can handle mega container vessels of 13,000 TEUs or more with quay cranes that can reach across 22 rows of containers. Remote controlled bridge cranes allow each operator to handle up to six cranes.

PSA Singapore Terminals also operates a dedicated car terminal at PPT and is fast becoming a vehicle transhipment hub for the region, handling about one million vehicles annually. In January 2009, Singapore’s first dedicated car terminal, the Asia Automobile Terminal (Singapore), began operations.  It is a joint venture of PSA Singapore Terminals, NYK and “K” Line.

Jurong Port

Jurong Port is a multi-purpose port and the main bulk and conventional cargo gateway for Singapore and the region.

The port handles steel products, cement, project cargo and copper slag, among others, using an extensive network of pipelines and conveyor systems for speedy and environment-friendly discharge and loading. It is also accredited by the London Metal Exchange as an ideal storage and transhipment hub for companies dealing in metals such as steel and tin ingots.

With its multi-purpose capabilities, Jurong Port is able to handle different types of cargoes efficiently and seamlessly at the same terminal.

The anchorages of the port of Singapore are divided into 3 sectors:
  • Eastern sector
  • Western sector
  • Jurong sector

Each anchorage has its designated purpose, described below.

Eastern sector

Changi General Purposes Anchorage – For general purposes with prior permission of the Port Master and for vessels requiring immigration clearance and bound for shipyards and facilities in the East Johor Strait and vessel’s using the scheme for taking ship’s supplies and/or changing crew.

Eastern Bunkering C Anchorage – For vessels with prior permission of the Port Master and vessels taking bunkers using the Special Bunkering Anchorage Scheme.

Man-of-War Anchorage – For visiting warships.

Eastern Bunkering A Anchorage – For vessels with prior permission of the Port Master and vessels taking bunkers using the Special Bunkering Anchorage Scheme.

Eastern Bunkering B Anchorage – For vessels with prior permission of the Port Master and vessels taking bunkers using the Special Bunkering Anchorage Scheme.

Eastern Special Purpose D Anchorage – For vessels under arrest, damaged vessels, vessels requiring repairs and other vessels with prior permission of the Port Master.

Eastern Special Purpose B Anchorage – For vessels under arrest, damaged vessels, vessels requiring repairs and other vessels with prior permission of the Port Master.

Eastern Petroleum B Anchorage – For vessels loaded with petroleum and non-gas free vessels.

Eastern Special Purpose A Anchorage – For vessels under arrest, damaged vessels, deep draught vessels, vessels requiring repairs and other vessels with prior permission of the Port Master.

Laid-up Vessels Anchorage – For vessels laid-up in port.

Small Craft Anchorage – For harbour tugs, pontoons, barges and other small craft, include fishing vessels.

Eastern Explosives Lighters Anchorage – For small craft loaded with explosives.

Eastern Anchorage – For general purposes such as receiving stores, water, bunkers, waiting for berth by vessels other than non-gas free petroleum carriers, liquefied natural gas carriers, liquefied petroleum gas carriers and chemical carriers.

Eastern Petroleum A Anchorage – For vessels loaded with petroleum and non-gas free vessels.

Eastern Holding A Anchorage – For vessels as directed by the Port Master.

Eastern Holding B Anchorage – For vessels as directed by the Port Master.

Eastern Holding C Anchorage – For port limit tankers that are waiting to service vessels in Keppel Harbour.

Changi Barge Temporary Holding Anchorage – For barges loaded with sand/granite waiting to proceed to an approved aggregate terminal in the East Johor Strait or as directed by the Port Master.

Western sector

Western Quarantine and Immigration Anchorage – For vessels requiring quarantine and immigration clearance.

Western Petroleum B Anchorage – For tankers of more than 10,000 GT loaded with petroleum and non-gas free vessels and tankers requiring immigration clearance.

Western Anchorage – For general purposes such as receiving stores, water, bunkers and waiting for berth facilities in the west by vessels other than non-gas free petroleum carriers, liquefied natural gas carriers, liquefied petroleum gas carriers and chemical carriers.

Western Petroleum A Anchorage – For vessels loaded with petroleum and non-gas free vessels. Tankers of 10,000 GT or less are required to anchor in this Anchorage.

Western Holding Anchorage – For vessels as directed by the Port Master.

Selat Pauh Anchorage – For vessels under arrest, laid-up vessels or other vessels with prior permission of the Port Master.

Raffles Reserved Anchorage – For lash ship operations, vessels requiring emergency repairs and damaged vessels or as directed by the Port Master.

Sudong Explosive Anchorage – For vessels and small craft loading or discharging explosives and Group 1 dangerous goods or vessels in transit with such cargo on board or as directed by the Port Master.

Sudong Special Purpose Anchorage – For VLCCs above 75,000 GT requiring immigration clearance or vessels as directed by the Port Master.

Sudong Holding Anchorage – Temporary holding anchorage with prior permission of the Port Master.

Sudong Bunkering B Anchorage – For vessels with prior permission of the Port Master and vessels taking bunkers using the Special Bunkering Anchorage Scheme.

Sudong Bunkering A Anchorage – For vessels with prior permission of the Port Master and vessels taking bunkers using the Special Bunkering Anchorage Scheme.

Jurong sector

Very Large Crude Carrier Anchorage – For loaded VLCCs

LNG/LPG/Chemical Gas Carriers Anchorage – For non-gas free liquefied natural gas carriers, liquefied petroleum gas carriers and chemical carriers and for LNG, LPG carriers, chemical and oil tankers requiring immigration clearance.

West Jurong Anchorage – For vessels waiting for berth facilities at the West Jurong Fairway, Pesek Basin and vessels under repairs or for special vessels and vessels including tugs and barges requiring immigration clearance.

Tuas Petroleum Holding Anchorage – For port limit tankers which are waiting to service vessels at Anchorages in the Jurong Sector or waiting for berth facilities in the West Jurong Fairway and Pesek Basin or as directed by the Port Master.

Image Courtesy: Goway.com

There are many interesting facts about Maritime Singapore. Here are some quick interesting and not very well-known facts:

  • At any one time, there are about 1,000 vessels in the Singapore port.
  • Every 2-3 minutes, a ship arrives or leaves Singapore.
  • Vessels passing through the Singapore Strait are monitored by the Maritime and Port Authority’s (MPA) Port Operations Control Centre, using the Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS),which has the capability of handling up to 10,000 tracks at any one time.
  • Singapore is well-connected to 600 ports in over 120 countries.
  • Although Singapore does not produce any oil, it is the top bunkering (ship refuelling) ports in the world. In 2015, more than 45 million tonnes of bunkers were lifted in Singapore. This is enough to fill over 17,000 Olympic-sized pools.
  • The Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) is among the top 10 largest registries in the world. Today, the SRS has over 4,500 vessels registered with it.
  • Singapore commands about 70% share of the world’s jack-up rig-building market and 70% of the global floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) platforms market.
  • Singapore has been a council member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1993.
  • In today’s interconnected world of commerce, more than 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea.
  • Seaborne trade remains the most energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly mode of transporting cargo. Without it, half the world would starve and the other half would freeze.
  • Annually, more than 130,000 ships call at Singapore.
  • About a million visitors cruise into Singapore annually.
  • Seaborne trade has been an important lifeline for Singapore from the time of its founding in 1819.
  • Today, there are more than 5,000 maritime establishments contributing about 7% to Singapore’s gross domestic product, and employing more than 170,000 personnel.
  • SGX AsiaClear first and only clearing facility for OTC traded derivatives. It provides a Central Counterparty clearing facility for freight, energy, commodities and financial derivatives. It exceeded US$4.7 billion in value of trades cleared in 2007.
  • The driving force behind building Singapore into a thriving International Maritime Centre is MPA.
On an average, Singapore attracts 130,000 vessel calls annually. The quality, efficiency, competitiveness and reliability of its port and shipping services make it the preferred international port of call.
Sea News Feature, January 11