Port of Singapore

Port of Singapore

The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Singapore's harbours and which handle Singapore's shipping. Currently the world's busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage, it also handles a quarter of the world's shipping containers as the world's busiest container port, half of the world's annual supply of crude oil, and is the world's busiest transshipment port. It was also the busiest port in terms of total cargo tonnage handled until 2005, when it was surpassed by Shanghai. Thousands of ships drop anchor in the harbour, connecting the port to over 600 other ports in 123 countries and spread over six continents.

The Port of Singapore is not a mere economic boon, but an economic necessity due to the fact that Singapore is lacking in land and natural resources. The Port is critical for importing natural resources, and then later re-exporting them after they have been refined and shaped in some manner, for example wafer fabrication or oil refining to generate revenue. Only then can the service industry such as hospitality services typical of a , for example, restocking a ship's food and water supplies, take their role. The Straits of Johor is currently impassable by all ships as the Johor-Singapore Causeway links Singapore to Malaysia.

The port was documented in a "MegaStructures" programme of the National Geographic Channel called "World's Busiest Port".


Before 1819

In the late 13th century, a settlement known as Singapore was established on the north bank of the Singapore River around what was called the Old Harbour. It was the only port in the southern part of the Strait of Malacca and serviced ships and traders in the region, competing with other ports along the coast of the Malacca Strait such as Jambi, Kota Cina, Lambri, Semudra, Palembang, South Kedah and Tamiang. The port had two functions. First, it made available products that were in demand by international markets; according to the "Daoyu Zhilüe" ("Brief Annals of Foreign Islands", 1349) [See cite book|author=汪大渊 (Wang Dayuan)|authorlink=Wang Dayuan|coauthors=苏继顷 (Su Jiqing) (comp.)|title=岛夷志略校释 (Pinyin: Dǎoyí Zhìlüè Jiàoshì) (Brief Annals of Foreign Islands : A Collation and Elucidation)|location=Beijing|publisher=Zhonghua Shuju (China Publishing House)|year=1981] by Chinese trader Wang Dayuan (born 1311, "fl." 1328–1339), these included top-quality hornbill casques, [From the Middle French meaning "helmet", a "casque" is an anatomical structure suggestive of a helmet, such as the horny outgrowth on the head of a cassowary: see cite web|title=Casque|url=http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/casque|publisher=Merriam–Webster's Online Dictionary|accessdate=2007-09-01] lakawood and cotton. Although these goods were also available from other Southeast Asian ports, those from Singapore were unique in terms of their quality. Secondly, Singapore acted as a gateway into the regional and international economic system for its immediate region. South Johor and the Riau Archipelago supplied products to Singapore for export elsewhere, while Singapore was the main source of foreign products to the region. Archaeological artefacts such as ceramics and glassware found in the Riau Archipelago evidence this. In addition, cotton was transshipped from Java or India through Singapore.citation|last=Heng|first=Derek|title=Continuities and Changes : Singapore as a Port-City over 700 Years|journal=Biblioasia|publisher=National Library Board|publication-place=Singapore|volume=1|issue=1|pages=12–16|issn=0219-8126.]

By the 15th century, although Singapore had declined as an international trading port due to the ascendance of the Malacca Sultanate, such trade continued on the island. A map of Singapore by Portuguese mathematician Manuel Gordinho d'Eredia showed the location of the office of a "shabandar", the Malay official responsible for international trade, and shards of 15th-century Siam ceramics and late 16th - or early 17th-century Chinese blue and white porcelain have been found at the Singapore and Kallang Rivers. Singapore also provided other regional ports with local products demanded by international markets. For instance, blackwood (a generic term used by Europeans to refer to rosewood) was exported from Singapore to Malacca, and was in turn purchased by Chinese traders and shipped to China for furniture-making. In the early 17th century, Singapore's main settlement and its port were destroyed by a punitive force from Aceh. After this, there was no significant settlement or port at Singapore until 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles, excited by the deep and sheltered waters in Keppel Harbour, established for Britain a new settlement and international port on the island.


Keen to attract Asian and European traders to the new port, Raffles directed that land along the banks of the Singapore River, particularly the south bank, be reclaimed where necessary and allocated to Chinese and English country traders to encourage them to establish a stake in the port-settlement. Chinese traders, because of their frequent commercial interactions with Southeast Asian traders throughout the year, set up their trading houses along the lower reaches of the river, while English country traders, who depended on the annual arrival of trade from India, set up warehouses along the upper reaches. The port relied on three main networks of trade that existed in Southeast Asia at that time: the Chinese network, which linked Southeast Asia with the southern Chinese ports of Fujian and Guangdong; the Southeast Asian network, which linked the islands of the Indonesian archipelago; and the European and Indian Ocean network, which linked Singapore to the markets of Europe and the Indian Ocean littoral. These networks were complementary, and positioned Singapore as the transshipment point of regional and international trade. By the 1830s, Singapore had overtaken Batavia (now Jakarta) as the centre of the Chinese junk trade, and also become the centre of English country trade, in Southeast Asia. This was because Southeast Asian traders preferred the free port of Singapore to other major regional ports which had cumbersome restrictions. Singapore had also supplanted Tanjung Pinang as the export gateway for the gambier and pepper industry of the RiauLingga Archipelago by the 1830s, and South Johor by the 1840s. It had also become the centre of the Teochew trade in marine produce and rice.

As the volume of its maritime trade increased in the 19th century, Singapore became a key port of call for sailing and steam vessels in their passage along Asian sea routes. From the 1840s, Singapore became an important coaling station for steam shipping networks that were beginning to form. Towards the late 19th century, Singapore became a staple port servicing the geographical hinterland of the Malay Peninsula. Following the institution of the British Foward Movement, Singapore became the administrative capital of British Malaya. Roads and railways were developed to transport primary materials such as crude oil, rubber and tin from the Malay Peninsula to Singapore to be processed into staple products, and then shipped to Britain and other international markets. During the colonial period, this was the most important role of the port of Singapore.

ince 1963

Singapore ceased to be part of the British Empire when it merged with Malaysia in 1963. Singapore lost its hinterland and was no longer the administrative or economic capital of the Malay Peninsula. The processing in Singapore of raw materials extracted in the Peninsula was drastically reduced due to the absence of a common market between Singapore and the Peninsular states.

Since Singapore's full independence in 1965, it has had to compete with other ports in the region to attract shipping and trade at its port. It has done so by developing an export-oriented economy based on value-added manufacturing. It obtains raw or partially-manufactured products from regional and global markets and exports value-added products back to these markets through market access agreements such as World Trade Organization directives and free trade agreements.

By the 1980s, maritime trading activity had ceased in the vicinity of the Singapore River except in the form of passenger transport, as other terminals and harbours took over this role. Keppel Harbour is now home to three container terminals. Other terminals were built in Jurong and Pasir Panjang as well as in Sembawang in the north. Today, the port operations in Singapore are handled by two players: PSA International (formerly the Port of Singapore Authority) and Jurong Port, which collectively operate six container terminals and three general-purpose terminals around Singapore.

In the 1990s the Port became more well-known and overtook Yokohama, and eventually became the busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage.Fact|date=January 2008


The port is the world's busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage handled, with 1.15 billion gross tons (GT) handled in 2005. In terms of cargo tonnage, Singapore is behind Shanghai with 423 million freight tons handled. The port retains its position as the world's busiest hub for transshipment traffic in 2005, and is also the world's biggest bunkering hub, with 25 million tonnes sold in the same year. [cite web|title=Singapore remains world's busiest port|url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-01/12/content_4045562.htm|publisher=China View, Xinhua News Agency|date=2006-01-12]

Singapore is ranked first globally in 2005 in terms of containerised traffic, with 23.2 million Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled. High growth in containerised traffic has seen the port overtaking Hong Kong since the first quarter of 2005, [cite news|last=Cher|first=Derek|title=Singapore port continues to outpace Hong Kong|url=http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessnews/view/179779/1/.html|publisher=Channel NewsAsia|date=2005-11-21] and has led the race ever since, with an estimated 19,335 TEUs handled in the year up to October, compared to 18,640 TEUs handled in Hong Kong in the same period. A rise in regional traffic consolidating the port's position in Southeast Asia, and increases in transshipment traffic using the strategic East Asia-Europe route via Singapore helped the port to emerge tops at the end of the year, a title it had not held since overtaking Hong Kong once in 1998.


PSA Singapore's container facilities are as follows:
*Container berths: 44
*Quay length: 12,800 m
*Area: 436 hectares
*Max draft: 16 m
*Quay cranes: 143
*Designed capacity: 24,700 kTEU

PSA Singapore has 13 berths which are part of the Pasir Panjang Container Terminal's Phase Two which are due for completion by 2009. Phase Three and Four will add another 16 berths and are expected to be completed by 2013. [cite news|title=S'pore to spend $2b on port expansion|url=http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20071221-42052.html|publisher=AsiaOne News|date=2007-12-21]

Jurong Port's facilities are as follows:
*Berths: 23
*Berth length: 4,545 m
*Maximum vessel draft: 16 m
*Maximum vessel size: DWT|150,000|metric|first=yes
*Area: 1.2 km² Free Trade Zone, 320,000 m² non-Free Trade Zone
*Warehouse facilities: 280,000 m²




*citation|last=Heng|first=Derek|title=Continuities and Changes : Singapore as a Port-City over 700 Years|journal=Biblioasia|publisher=National Library Board|publication-place=Singapore|volume=1|issue=1|pages=12–16|issn=0219-8126.

Further reading


*cite book|author=Sinnappah Arasaratnam|title=Pre-modern Commerce and Society in Southern Asia : An Inaugural Lecture Delivered at the University of Malaya on December 21, 1971|location=Kuala Lumpur|publisher=University of Malaya|year=1972
*cite book|last=Braddell|first=Roland|title=A Study of Ancient Times in the Malay Peninsula and the Straits of Malacca and Notes on Ancient Times in Malaya / by Dato Sir Roland Braddell. Notes on the Historical Geography of Malaya / by Dato F.W. Douglas (MBRAS reprints; no. 7)|location=Kuala Lumpur|publisher=Printed for the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society by Art Print. Works|year=1980
*cite book|last=Chiang|first=Hai Ding|title=A History of Straits Settlements Foreign Trade, 1870–1915 (Memoirs of the National Museum; no. 6)|location=Singapore|publisher=National Museum|year=1978
*cite book|last=Hall|first=Kenneth R.|title=Maritime Trade and State Development in Early Southeast Asia|location=Honolulu, Hi.|publisher=University of Hawai‘i Press|year=1985|isbn=0824808436 (hbk.)|id=ISBN 0824809599 (pbk.)
*cite book|last=Ishii|first=Yoneo (ed.)|title=The Junk Trade from Southeast Asia : Translations from the Tosen Fusetsu-gaki, 1674–1723|location=Singapore|publisher=Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS); Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National History, Australian National University|year=1998|isbn=9812300228
*cite book|last=Miksic|first=John N.|title=Archaeological Research on the "Forbidden Hill" of Singapore : Excavations at Fort Canning, 1984|location=Singapore|publisher=National Museum|year=1985|isbn=9971917165 (pbk.)
*cite book|last=Miksic|first=John N.|coauthors=Cheryl-Ann Low Mei Gek (gen. eds.)|title=Early Singapore 1300s–1819 : Evidence in Maps, Text and Artefacts|location=Singapore|publisher=Singapore History Museum|year=2004|isbn=9810502834 (pbk.)
*cite book|last=Ooi|first=Giok Ling|coauthors=Brian J. Shaw|title=Beyond the Port City : Development and Identity in 21st Century Singapore|location=Singapore|publisher=Prentice Hall|year=2004|isbn=013008381X (pbk.)
*cite book|last=Shaffer|first=Lynda Norene|title=Maritime Southeast Asia to 1500|location=Armonk, N.Y.|publisher=M.E. Sharpe|year=1996|isbn=1563241439 (hbk.)|id=ISBN 1563241447 (pbk.)
*cite book|last=Trocki|first=Carl A.|title=Prince of Pirates : The Temenggongs and the Development of Johor and Singapore, 1784–1885|location=Singapore|publisher=Singapore University Press|year=1979

Present day

*cite book|last=Yap|first=Chris|title=A Port's Story, A Nation's Success|location=Singapore|publisher=Times Editions for Port of Singapore Authority|year=1990
*cite book|last=Ho|first=David K [im] H [in] |title=The Seaport Economy: A Study of the Singapore Experience|location=Singapore|publisher=Singapore University Press|year=1996|isbn=997169199X (pbk.)
*cite book|title=Singapore Shipping: Past, Present & Future|location=Singapore|publisher=Singapore Shipping Association|year=2000
*cite book|last=Danam|first=Jacqueline (ed.)|title=PSA: Full Ahead|location=Singapore|publisher=PSA Corporation|year=2003|isbn=9814068470

External links

* [http://www.mpa.gov.sg Official website of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore]
** [http://www.mpa.gov.sg/infocentre/portstatistics/portstats.htm Port operational statistics]
*cite web|last=Landow|first=George P|title=Singapore Harbor from its Founding to the Present : A Brief Chronology|url=http://www.scholars.nus.edu.sg/landow/post/singapore/economics/harborchron.html|publisher=Postcolonial Web|accessdate=2007-09-01
* [http://www.singaporemaritimeportal.com/ Singapore Maritime Portal]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Singapore — Singaporean, n., adj. /sing geuh pawr , pohr , sing euh /, n. 1. an island on the Strait of Singapore, off the S tip of the Malay Peninsula. 2. an independent republic comprising this island and a few adjacent islets: member of the Commonwealth… …   Universalium

  • Singapore — This article is about the city state. For other uses, see Singapore (disambiguation). Coordinates …   Wikipedia

  • Port of Tanjung Pelepas — The Port of Tanjung Pelepas (abbreviation: PTP, UN/LOCODE: MYTPP coord|01|21|58.85|N|103|32|54.12|E) is a port for container ships located on the eastern mouth of the Pulai River in south western Johor, Malaysia. Receiving its maiden vessel on 10 …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore River — The Singapore River is a small river in Singapore with great historical importance. The Singapore River flows from the Central Area, which lies in the Central Region in the southern part of Singapore before emptying into the ocean. The immediate… …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Changi Airport — Changi Airport redirects here. For Changi Air Base (West) RAF Changi, see Changi Air Base. Singapore Changi Airport Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Changi Singapura 新加坡樟宜机场 (Xīnjiāpō Zhāngyí Jīchǎng) சிங்கப்பூர் சாங்கி வானூர்தி நிலையம் …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Cruise Centre — The Singapore Cruise Centre (abbrev: SCC; Chinese: 新加坡邮轮中心) is a cruise terminal located in the south of Singapore in the vicinity of HarbourFront and in Keppel Harbour. Built in 1991 by the then Port of Singapore Authority and upgraded in 1998… …   Wikipedia

  • Port of Hong Kong — The Port of Hong Kong, located by the South China Sea, is a deepwater seaport dominated by trade in containerised manufactured products, and to a lesser extent raw materials and passengers. A key factor in the economic development of Hong Kong,… …   Wikipedia

  • Port authority — In Canada and the United States a port authority (less commonly a port district) is a governmental or quasi governmental public authority for a special purpose district usually formed by a legislative body (or bodies)to create and support… …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Strait — The Singapore Strait (or Straits of Singapore; zh sp|s=新加坡海峡|p=Xīnjiāpō Hǎixiá) is a 105 kilometer long, 16 kilometer wide strait between the Strait of Malacca in the west and the South China Sea in the east. Singapore is on the north of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Singapore Strait — ▪ channel, southeast Asia       channel extending for 65 miles (105 km) between the Strait of Malacca (west) and the South China Sea (east). The strait is 10 miles (16 km) wide and lies between Singapore Island (north) and the Riau Islands… …   Universalium