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PSA Singapore: Global Cargo Connectors

Operating the world’s largest transhipment hub, PSA Singapore provides unrivalled connectivity in the heart of Southeast Asia. PSA Singapore is a world-leading ports and terminals group which handled 37 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containers in 2022. Therefore, as the flagship terminal of PSA International, PSA Singapore leads the industry across the region providing handling, management, depot, and warehousing services to a whole range of container vessels.  

PSA Singapore began as the Port of Singapore Authority, which was a statutory board responsible for regulating, operating, and promoting the Port of Singapore in the 1960s. However, in the 1970s its container port and handling facilities were established which over the next few decades saw expansive growth reaching 5 million TEU by 1990. By this point, Singapore was the largest container port in the world, and so in 1996, the regulatory functions of the original company were transferred to Singapore’s new maritime regulator, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). In 1997, the Port of Singapore Authority converted into an independent commercial company which kept the PSA initials and added Singapore removing the original acronym meaning. Since the container port and handling services began as the central focus for PSA Singapore, it has continued to expand and play a vital role in the overarching multinational PSA International group.  

The core business of PSA Singapore is the movement of cargo from one vessel to another whilst in transit to its destination. This vital role is due to its strategic location at the heart of Southeast Asia, at the crucial crossing point of many major shipping routes. Therefore, the PSA Singapore has become an important hub for global supply chains as feeder vessels bring containers to the Port of Singapore which are then loaded onto larger vessels which are then taken on shipments to their final destinations.  

This transhipment method is both cost-effective and efficient because it allows vessels to make a single voyage to the port, rather than multiple journeys to each individual destination. Consequently, approximately 85% of the containers that arrive in Singapore are transhipped to another port of call, and so the role that PSA Singapore plays in facilitating and maintaining this system of transhipment can be felt across the local and international cargo industry.  

Across PSA Singapore there are 55 berths at the Tanjong Pagar, Keppel, Brani and Pasir Panjang ports. These ports all are equipped with container handling equipment and have a combined capacity of 50 million TEUs. The largest facility is at the Pasir Panjang Terminals (PPT) which has 3 dedicated births and is supported by an open car yard and multi-storey car storage yard which accommodates 20,000 car park lots. In addition, PSA Singapore has its Jurong Island Terminal which is located on the western corner of Jurong Island and has 2 berth terminals with a capacity of 400 TEUs.  

A significant part of the development of PSA Singapore is the Tuas Port which is currently under development to consolidate all the company’s container terminals into a single location on the western seaboard of Tuas. The finished port is planned to have an automated and integrated operations system which will be deployed to tackle the next generation of cargo demand. Construction of the first set of berths began in 2021 and is expected to be completed by 2040. The entire project is part of PSA Singapore’s vision to form a holistic ecosystem which will bring goods anywhere in the world faster and more reliably.  

For PSA Singapore sustainability is not just an option but a responsibility. It is working constantly to ensure that in order for the business to retain its resilience and continue to grow without compromising the environment it has set out on a mission to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the next generation. It has committed to a range of targets which are in line with Singapore’s climate ambitions. A crucial step towards these initiatives came in a recent partnership between PSA Singapore and the Pacific International Lines (PIL). As announced this month, the two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly develop sustainable solutions to cut carbon emissions and optimise maritime efficiency. This includes the development of a set of low-carbon emission routes for containers shipped by both companies.  

PIL is the largest home-grown carrier in southeast Asia with strong shipping links in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Oceania. As leaders in their respective industries, the partnership signifies a crucial move towards sustainability throughout the shipping industry. Mr Nelson Quek, Regional CEO of Southeast Asia for PSA International discusses the partnership between its flagship Singapore division and PIL in the company’s recent press release, stating that “PSA is pleased to partner with PIL as we take the bold and essential step towards decarbonising the global supply chains that power our economy. We remain committed to working hand-in-hand with likeminded stakeholders as we spur concerted action towards our transition to a cleaner and sustainable future beyond the areas served by our ports”.  

Therefore, this crucial partnership is set to drive change across the industry and allow each company to meet the common goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is these joint ventures with other respected stakeholders within the shipping and cargo industry, that have allowed PSA Singapore to develop its operations and establish itself as a crucial hub for these industries on a global scale. Through strategic partnerships, PSA Singapore continues to deliver productivity and efficient terminal services.  

Overall, PSA Singapore has worked tirelessly over the last 50 years to move from a regulatory board into the world-leading ports and terminal group, which has continued to expand across the globe. PSA Singapore plays a crucial role in an international network of port and container handling services both under PSA International, but also in the shipping industry as a whole. Consequently, through this work to develop its facilities and through strategic partnerships with significant stakeholders across the industry, PSA Singapore continues to foster a leading supply chain which is powered by its innovation, technology, and sustainable practices.