Singapore reopens disused container terminals to alleviate bottlenecks


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on 30 May that operations at shuttered container terminals in the city-state’s downtown have been temporarily resumed to ease the backlog of ships queueing to dock in the world’s second busiest port.

MPA said, “We’ve seen large increases in container volumes and the ‘bunching’ of container vessel arrivals over the previous months due to supply chain disruptions in upstream locations.”

Singapore processed 13.36 million TEU between January and April, up nearly 9% over the same period last year.

More off-schedule boxship arrivals and the increased container volumes have resulted in longer vessels’ wait time for a container berth. While most container vessels are berthed on arrival, port operator PSA has worked with liners to adjust arrival schedules where feasible, and where this is not feasible, MPA said that the average waiting time for container vessels is about two to three days. However, other industry estimates are that ships have had to wait up to five days to berth.

The increased demand for container handling in Singapore is a result of several container lines discharging more containers in Singapore as they forgo subsequent voyages to catch up on their next schedules. The number of containers handled per vessel has also increased.