Three new berths will commence operations later this year in addition to the eight existing berths in Tuas Port to increase overall port handling capacity, said Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA).

The diversion of vessels around the Cape of Good Hope has disrupted vessel arrival schedules at major ports globally with off-schedule arrivals and has caused a “vessels bunching” effect. Since the beginning of 2024, Singapore has seen a significant increase in vessel arrivals.

“The increased demand on 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,” MPA said.

Singapore’s port PSA plans to increase the overall container handling capacity in the near term and is working closely with MPA to update container lines and regional feeders on their berth availability and to advise them on the arrival times to minimise delays in berthing.

“There is no delayed berthing experienced for other vessels that call at Singapore, which is about two thirds of vessel arrivals. There is currently no crowding in the anchorages,” Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority says.

The authority is working now closely with PSA to optimise the current port’s capabilities and capacity to minimise the wait time for berths.

The port authority said it had also worked with Singapore’s Ministry of Transport and PSA since late 2023 to prepare for higher vessel arrivals.

PSA has reactivated older berths and yards that have previously been decanted at Keppel Terminal. As a result of these measures, PSA can increase the number of containers handled weekly from 770,000 TEUs to a total of 820,000 TEUs currently.

Container volumes handled in Singapore in the first four months of 2024 amounted to 13.36 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This is an 8.8% increase in container volumes over the same period last year. The increase in container vessels arriving off-schedule and the increased container volumes handled in Singapore 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, the average waiting time for container vessels is about two to three days,” MPA said in its statement.

“For the tanker and bulk vessel segment, the resupply and bunkering activities take place within the anchorages and these are not affected,” it added.