21 January 2009

Jurong Port: facilities upgrade

Due to the growth of cargo volumes in recent years as well as the closing of Pasir Panjang Wharves, a conventional facility operated by PSAC, JP had since 2005 begun an ambitious and intensive programme to develop new and upgrade existing facilities and services including IT infrastructure, to accommodate future throughput growth and business requirements. Many of these projects were recently completed to enable the port to provide improved services to its users.
The port is continuing with works on other infrastructure and facilities which include the upgrading of about 27,000 sq m of open storage and realignment of internal roadways for more efficient and safer operations as well as further systems enhancement.

Jurong Port thriving as multi-purpose gateway to region
Business Times 21 Jan 09;
DEVELOPED as a wharf in 1965 to support Singapore's first and biggest industrial township, Jurong Industrial Estate, Jurong Port (JP) today is a thriving multi-purpose port which handles a diverse range of cargoes and vessels. A fully owned subsidiary of JTC Corporation, it was corporatised on Jan 1, 2001, to generate greater dynamism, flexibility and responsiveness to the fast-changing trends in the shipping and port industry.

The port handles an average of 19,000 vessel calls per year, ranging from small wooden crafts to 8,488-TEU container vessels. In 2008, JP handled a total of 8.2 million tonnes of general cargo, 6.2 million tonnes of dry and liquid bulk cargo and 0.97 million TEUs of containers.

The port has seen tremendous cargo growth in recent years. The type of cargoes are diverse; such as provisions carried by small wooden crafts between Singapore and the nearby Indonesian islands, rubber and cargoes in pallets, machinery and mechanical appliances, project cargoes, steel products for the construction, shipbuilding and offshore oilfield-related industries, forestry products and scrap metal. It also handles liquid bulk cargoes such as lubrication oil in pipelines which are linked directly from the berths to storage facilities in the port.

On its 153-hectare site, located in close proximity to Jurong Island, facilities include a cement terminal, a container terminal, a small-craft terminal, landing craft roll on-roll off mechanical ramps, bulk cargo berths equipped with unloaders, and conventional berths supported by ample transit, back-up warehouses and open storage areas.

It has 23 berths with a total length of about 5,630 metres and a maximum water depth of up to 16 m, about 162,000 square metre of warehouses both in and outside the port and 213,000 sq m of open storage area. Its container terminal consists of 1,410 m of berths equipped with 14 quay cranes (to handle vessels up to 22 rows across) supported by a 35,000-TEU container stacking yard, 34 rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes and other container handling equipment. Jurong Port is also a London Metal Exchange approved warehousing facility for the storage and trading of metal ingots.

Its cement terminal is one of the world's largest common user cement terminal serving Singapore's needs. The terminal has two berths equipped with three cement unloaders and linked by a fully enclosed conveyor system to 12 silos operated by six cement companies.

It also operates two bulk unloader cranes to handle dry bulk cargoes such as clinker, copper slag and industrial chemicals that are essential components for industries such as shipbuilding and cement and paint manufacturing.

JP also serves state-of-the-art vessels that ship refined sugar from Australia, through a food grade conveyor directly from the berth to the silo. This is repacked for local industries and re-exported to the region. This high-tech facility is an example of the types of partnership JP has developed with customers.

It has also recently developed a Penjuru Terminal along Sungei Jurong, to cater to Singapore's lighterage and shipchandling business. The terminal is equipped with biometric-based security, a canteen and dedicated mooring facilities.

Jurong Port has in recent years also won awards such as the Best Container Terminal - Asia (under one million TEUs per annum) at the Asian Freight and Supply Chain Award (AFSCA) 2008; the Best Emerging Container Terminal Operator - Asia at AFSCA 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007; and the Best Asia Pacific Container Terminal at the Supply Chain and Management Logistics World Awards 2007.

In the 80s and 90s, Jurong Port grew in tandem with the rapid growth of the Jurong Industrial Estate. More warehouses were added, more berths were extended and added; and the channel deepened to enable more and larger vessels to call. Other supporting and shore facilities such as cranes and conveyor systems were also built and installed to complement the berths and wharves as well as to cater to the increase in cargo throughputs.

The port's role as a regional distribution hub further grew in importance as many multinational corporations set up their facilities in Jurong, giving rise to strong demand for port facilities.

To support these activities, the port mechanised and computerised its facilities and services to improve productivity which led to quicker turnaround times for vessels through faster cargo handling. The port also reclaimed the island - Pulau Damar Laut (PDL) - from 21 hectares to 61 hectares and linked it with a causeway to the mainland, to create more deepwater multi-purpose berths to handle a diversified cargo mix.

This further strengthened the port as an ideal transhipment centre, where timely shipments were facilitated to markets in the Asia-Pacific. For example, steel and forestry products from Europe and the Americas were stockpiled at the port and shipped out as and when the cargo was required by the customers. Many panamax and capesize vessels, which plied the international routes, also started calling the port with large volumes of cargo for distribution to the regional ports. Likewise, small lots of cargo could be consolidated at the port into larger and more economical consignments for transhipment.

As JP sailed through the decades into the 21st century, it made good progress, offering more than excellent infrastructure; providing comprehensive, cost-effective, quality port services that are flexible, responsive and innovative; and most importantly, backed by a service culture that puts customer needs first, and partnering them to charter new frontiers of growth in the region and internationally.

JP extended its services when it started the Container Terminal in mid-2001 with two quay cranes and four RTGs. Seven years on, the Container Terminal is equipped with 14 quay cranes and 34 RTGs with an estimated annual handling capacity of over 1.8 million TEUs. Its key customers include United Arab Shipping Corporation (UASC), Emirates Lines and CSAV Norasia, contributing 973,000 TEUs in 2008. JP is the South-east Asian hub of UASC, whose A7 Class (6,900 TEUs) vessels make regular calls. Its growth over the few years, as well as accolades it received, is testimony to its ability to serve a niche within a highly competitive container handling market.

Due to the growth of cargo volumes in recent years as well as the closing of Pasir Panjang Wharves, a conventional facility operated by PSAC, JP had since 2005 begun an ambitious and intensive programme to develop new and upgrade existing facilities and services including IT infrastructure, to accommodate future throughput growth and business requirements. Many of these projects were recently completed to enable the port to provide improved services to its users.

The port is continuing with works on other infrastructure and facilities which include the upgrading of about 27,000 sq m of open storage and realignment of internal roadways for more efficient and safer operations as well as further systems enhancement.

To support its core businesses, JP focuses on IT development to enhance efficiency and productivity. It has developed a front-end interface system, JP-Online, a berth planning system, a container terminal management system and a general bulk management system (GBMS), which are integrated, to better manage port operations. A noteworthy GBMS feature is the cargo space planning system, which speeds up the storage planning process for all types of cargo in the port.

JP has transformed into a premier multi-purpose gateway, serving Singapore, the region and the world. This multi-purpose and multi-faceted role sets it apart from many of the other terminals in the region and places it in a good position to continue to support growth in Singapore and the region. Notwithstanding this, the port continues to take conscious steps to meet future challenges by constantly reviewing and improving its key operational processes, organisation structure and competencies.

This article is contributed by Jurong Port

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