Singapore Port Aims To Double Capacity By 2018

Singapore, the world's busiest container port, is aiming to double capacity to 50 million 20-foot container boxes by 2018 as world trade booms, a senior government official said. "If world trade continues to boom and fuel container shipping grows at about 6% per year, we estimate throughput will double in about 12 years' time," Minister of State for Transport Lim Hwee Hwa said in remarks released late March 2.

Singapore moved 23.2 million 20-foot containers in 2005 to regain the position as the world's busiest container port from Hong Kong for the first time since 1998, Lim said. Throughput expanded almost 9% from 2004, faster than its regional rivals Hong Kong as well as Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Port Klang in Malaysia.

Singapore retained its position as the world's busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage with 1.115 billion gross tons last year and was the top bunkering port worldwide, Lim said.

Singapore's PSA International, the world's second biggest container port operator after Hutchison of Hong Kong, reported March 1 net profit rose 20.2% in 2005 from the previous year, lifted by a boom in Asian trade. "There are still many opportunities in the global marketplace of ports. I am sure PSA will continue to be on the lookout for attractive projects to increase its international footprint," Lim said. PSA, owned by Singapore's state-linked investment company Temasek Holdings runs ports in Singapore, Belgium, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea and Thailand.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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