Tuas mega port to open in phases from 2021

The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) recently revealed (—tuas-mega-port-to-open-in-phases-from-2021) that the Tuas Terminal mega port will commence its first phase of operations in 2021 with two berths for ships.

The mega port reached a construction milestone following the installation of the 221st and final caisson on 23 April 2019. 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.

A caisson is a prefabricated box-like concrete structure, around the height of a 10-storey HDB block, which is transported offshore and then sunk into water to form part of the permanent wharf line. The use of caissons compared to conventional piling to create a deep foundation results in improved quality of the wharf structure, said MPA.

The authority added that the foundational land created from 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.

Construction for Phase 1 of Tuas Terminal commenced in 2015 and cost SGD2.42 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 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo annually.

Apart from the use of caissons, several other innovations were used in the construction of the terminal.

For example, a specially designed and fitted vessel called the Temarock was deployed. This all-in-one rock mound construction vessel automates the process of rock laying, rock compacting, as well as underwater surveying.

MPA said that this automation results in safer operations, less manpower, a reduction in material wastage and a 50 per cent reduction in caisson installation time, compared with the conventional process that requires multiple vessels and the assistance of divers.

The project also saw the reuses 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, with a total estimated cost savings of SGD2 billion. — Construction+ Online