SINGAPORE – The first phase of Tuas Port was officially opened on Thursday – with 500 workers running three berths at what will eventually be the world’s biggest fully automated port.
Speaking at the opening, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the port will be a critical engine driving Singapore’s economy, reinforcing its status as an international maritime centre.
“Our decision to press on with Tuas Port sends a strong signal to the world that Singapore is open for business… We are going full steam ahead,” he said.
Meanwhile, port operator PSA described the $20 billion facility as a “game changer”.
PSA’s group chairman Peter Voser said: “Today marks the exciting beginning of a new era. Tuas Port is where we can help to realise the immense potential of Singapore as a trade hub for the world.”
PM Lee, who was given a tour of the megaport, said Tuas has an advantage in being closer to the many industries in western Singapore, including the nearby Jurong Industrial District, the Jurong Lake District and the Jurong and Tuas industrial areas.
“Being closer to the port means faster and cheaper port services,” he said. “This means more efficient production, and quicker turnaround for their products to be exported to international markets.”
Through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Tuas port will also assure international partners and shipping lines that Singapore can handle increasingly complex operations of the future, he added and noted that the port was creating more opportunities and better jobs for workers.
Containers at the port are transported around the facility in unmanned driverless vehicles once they are set in place by cranes.
Mr Syed Ali, 51, has been working cranes in ports for 28 years, and said the equipment at Tuas port has transformed the way he works.
He used to have to climb up cranes for eight-hour shifts in Pasir Panjang terminal to move crates, making sure to take toilet breaks before and prepare snacks to eat above ground.
Now, at Tuas, he manoeuvres the cranes from an air-conditioned room.
“The whole process is much easier and more comfortable,” he said.