The logistics industry would be nothing without shipping ports providing a gateway around the world for goods. Each of these ports is unique, an important piece of the complex puzzle that is global distribution. To highlight the value each of these ports brings to the table, we present Port Report. This weekly series shares some of the history behind shipping ports around the world. In this installment, we discuss PSA Singapore, the world’s second-largest container port.
As the world’s busiest transhipment hub, and connections with every major port in the world, the Port of Singapore has a fascinating history to go with its global reach. In 2020 alone, this port handled 36.6 million TEUs of containers. PSA Singapore also holds numerous accolades for innovation and operations in the shipping field.
Port of Singapore – History
PSA Singapore’s story begins in 1869. The opening of the Suez Canal brought increased shipping traffic to Singapore, delivering and receiving their cargo at separate wharves owned and operated by private companies. One of these companies, Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, merged with another, New Harbour Dock Company in 1899. But despite this merger, Tanjong Pagar Dock Company was unable to update their facilities to handle the business they were now receiving, and as a result, the local government established a board to manage the ports. On July 1, 1913, the Singapore Harbour Board replaced the Tanjong Pagar Dock Board.
The Singapore Harbour Board led many modernization efforts throughout its existence, such as employing workers directly, as well as being an early adopter of mechanical cargo handling equipment. At the same time, the board had to contend with rebuilding efforts following the second World War. Ultimately, on April 1, 1964, the Singapore Harbour Board was replaced by a new port body, called the Port of Singapore Authority, or PSA. Source
A central focus of the PSA was developing the Port of Singapore on a technological level. In the 1980s, the Port began to integrate automated and computerized machinery, increasing its efficiency at a time when it struggled to compete with other nearby ports. This allowed the port to grow into the world’s busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage, and second busiest in terms of cargo tonnage.
The Port of Singapore is also one of the world’s largest Refrigerated Container ports, as well as the largest publicly-owned Port in the world.
Currently being built in Singapore, the Tuas Mega Port will be the world’s largest port infrastructure. First announced in 2012, this port will continue the Port Singapore’s focus on technology, with automation serving a key role in its day-to-day operations. Digital technology will also play a role in the Port’s operations. The project will be completed in four phases, with the final phase finishing after 2040. The port will have a capacity of over 15 million more TEUs than the current port terminals. Source
The Port of Singapore serves an important role in the global shipping and logistics industry. Its focus on technology has helped drive the logistics industry into the future, and the Tuas Mega Port will surely continue that legacy.
Can’t get enough Port Report? Click here to check out last week’s edition, about The Port of Houston!