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Singapore port operator boosting handling capacity to deal with port congestion

Port operator PSA Singapore is boosting its manpower and container handling capacity amid shipping delays caused by port congestion.

PSA has reactivated older berths and yards at Keppel Terminal which were previously decanted, increasing the number of containers handled weekly from 770,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 820,000 TEUs.

Three new berths are also slated to start operations in Tuas Port later in 2024, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a May 30 statement. The Tuas Port currently has eight berths.

The MPA statement comes as Singapore experiences large increases in container volumes and vessels arriving off-schedule due to supply chain disruptions in upstream locations.

Singapore handled a total of 13.36 million TEUs in the first four months of 2024, an 8.8 per cent increase from the same period in 2023.

The disruptions are also causing some ships to choose to discharge more containers in Singapore and forgo subsequent voyages so they can catch up on their next schedules, added MPA.

This resulted in a “vessel bunching” effect, said MPA, adding that the average waiting time for a berth for container vessels could take from two to three days.

MPA said PSA has worked with container liners to adjust arrival schedules where possible to reduce vessel bunching.

Container-ship industry intelligence website Linerlytica reported on May 28 that port congestion in Singapore has forced some liners to skip stopping here as delays could reach up to seven days.

Global Airfreight International, which handled both air and sea cargo as a forwarder, has seen 70 per cent of its ocean shipments being delayed, The Business Times reported on May 30.

Container ships aside, other vessels that call at Singapore – which make up about two-thirds of all vessel arrivals – are not experiencing delays, said MPA. It added that there is also no crowding in the anchorages.

Resupply and bunkering activities, which take place within the anchorages, also remain unaffected.

“MPA and PSA are working closely with container lines and regional feeders to update them on their berth availability and advising them on the arrival times to minimise delays in berthing,” said MPA.
Source: The Straits Times

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