In Response to Media Queries on Vessels’ Extended Waiting Times for Berths in the Port of Singapore

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The diversion of vessels around the Cape of Good Hope has disrupted vessel arrival schedules at major ports around the world 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. 

2. For the tanker and bulk vessel segment, the resupply and bunkering activities take place within the anchorages and these are not affected. For the container vessels, we have 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.

3. 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.

4. 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. Added to these demands, container lines are also leveraging PSA’s cargo handling capabilities to help manage their containers stowage onboard vessels to facilitate expeditious discharge of cargo for their subsequent port calls. This is a sign of the confidence that container liners have in our port. 

5. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have been working with PSA and the industry since late 2023 to prepare for higher vessel arrivals. PSA has since added more manpower and container handling capacity to help alleviate the situation. For instance, 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. 

6. In addition to the eight existing berths in Tuas Port, three new berths will commence operations later this year. This will increase overall port handling capacity. PSA plans to accelerate the commissioning of these new berths to help increase overall container handling capacity in the near term. MPA and PSA are working closely with container lines and regional feeders to update them on their berth availability and advising them on the arrival times to minimise delays in berthing.

7. 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.
8. MOT and MPA will continue to work closely with PSA to optimise the current port’s capabilities and capacity to minimise the wait time for berths, including the proactive planning with container lines on their arrival time vis their berth availability.