Indian Transport & Logistics

Singapore Port increases capacity to meet growing demand

"Container vessels, which make up ~1/3 of arrivals, have experienced longer waiting time due to more vessels arriving."

Call pattern changes see transhipment ports face challenges

Photo Credit: PSA Singapore

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Singapore has seen a significant increase in vessel arrivals since the start of 2024 with overall vessel arrival tonnage (all vessel types) growing 4.5 percent year-on-year to 1.04 billion gross tonnage (GT) in January-April.

"Most vessels calling at Singapore, including tankers & bulk carriers, carry out their activities in the anchorages unaffected," writes Eng Dih Teo, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority Singapore in his LinkedIn post.

"However, container vessels, which make up ~1/3 of arrivals, have experienced longer waiting time than usual for berths due to more vessels arriving."

Total container volume in January-April increased 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year, amounting to 13.36 million TEUs. "The monthly average tonnage of container vessel arrivals reached 72.4 million GT in the same period, which is an increase of >1 million GT per month compared to last year."

The diversion of vessels around Cape of Good Hope has led to late arrivals and schedule adjustments, often with short lead times, Teo says in his post. "These have led to bunching in many ports where multiple vessels arrive in the same time frame, causing longer waiting times to be berthed."

Liners like CMA CGM have made more calls & moved more volumes to Singapore compared to the same period last year with demand for capacity remaining strong with growing volumes, Teo added. "Most container vessels are berthed on arrival with PSA Singapore working with liners to adjust arrival schedules and where this is not feasible, the average waiting time for container vessels is 2-3 days.

"The increase in volume arises from container lines discharging more containers in Singapore to be redistributed as they forgo subsequent voyages & turn around to catch up on next schedules. Vessels previously not planned to call in Singapore have also done so to make up for delays upstream.

"The number of containers handled per vessel has also increased with liners opting to use PSA’s cargo handling options to reorganise container stowage onboard vessels to facilitate faster cargo discharge at subsequent port calls & reshuffle heavier laden containers to be stowed lower for safety."

With large volume increases, older berths being decanted at Keppel Terminal are reactivated, increasing PSA’s weekly container handling capacity from 770,000 TEUs to 820,000 TEUs, Teo added.

"In addition to the eight berths at the new Tuas Port, the opening of three new berths scheduled to commence operations later this year will be expedited to increase overall container handling."

Drewry index up 151% YoY
The Drewry world composite index increased four percent to $4,226 per 40ft container during the week to May 30, and has increased 151 percent when compared with the same week last year.

The index is nearly triple (198 percent) more than the average 2019 (pre-pandemic) rates of $1,420.

Drewry expects freight rates ex-China to continue rising next week due to the onset of the early peak season.

Ocean freight container shipping spot rates are set to exceed the level seen at the height of the Red Sea crisis when the latest round of increases hit the market on June 1, according to the latest data released by Xeneta.

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