Singapore acts to curb box delays

Singapore acts to curb box delays

Singapore's main container handler, PSA Corp., said container volume jumped 15 percent in the first half of the year to 9.9 million TEUs, and that's putting some strain on its facilities.

PSA and members of the Singapore Shipping Association met recently to seek solutions to delays at the world's second-busiest box port, with the annual peak season still to come.

A spokesman for the SSA said it will encourage lines to provide more accurate forecasts and information to facilitate better planning by PSA, which moved 18 million TEUs in 2003.

"We are pleased that PSA has listened to our feedback and that it will study all our suggestions to further improve the situation. In fact, from the statistics shown, the delays have dropped significantly and things have started to flow much better," said Patrick Phoon, chairman of the SSA Council's Services Committee.

The group said it is satisfied that the situation is under control and that PSA is monitoring it closely. With extra staff and more equipment to be provided by PSA, the operator will be able to facilitate faster turnarounds, Phoon said.

Grace Fu, chief executive of PSA Singapore Terminals, said the firm has earmarked about $70 million for cranes for new berths to help meet an expected rise in volumes. The 12 super post-Panamax cranes have lifting capacity of 60 tons and can handle ships of more than 8,000 TEUs.

"In the longer term, we will be phasing in three new berths at Pasir Panjang Terminal by 2005, with two additional berths being commissioned in 2006. Development of these five new berths has been fast-tracked," Fu said.

PSA has 37 container berths in Singapore at Pasir Panjang and three other local terminals, and is expanding to 42 to prepare for forecast strong growth over the next few years.