A group photo following the visit with Elton Fong (right) and Pi Rui (4th from right)
Explore Engineering – PSA International
10th October 2016
The towering quay cranes and hulking ships that appear the size of skyscrapers are just about visible in the distance from the National University of Singapore. Yet few students have had the opportunity to visit PSA Singapore Terminals (PSA ST). Four students had the chance to as part of the Explore Engineering series, which brings student participants of InnoVenture 2016 on visits to partner companies of the program.
Singapore is well known as a maritime hub contributing to some 7% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the port is one of its major contributors. It is the world’s biggest transshipment hub, where goods transit in Singapore to other parts of the world. At the heart of this complex operation are a series of terminals run by PSA. Behind the gates lie a world on its own, one buzzing with action 24/7 as cranes and trucks move around the busy ports serving the ships that call.
Our guide for the day at PSA ST’s Pasir Panjang Terminals was Ng Pi Rui, Deputy Manager of PSA unboXed, who gave the group an insider’s look into what goes on behind the scenes. Everything is carefully planned when it comes to container handling, right down to where each container should be placed depending on what is inside it and where it needs to go next. Each quay crane in operation requires 17 workers in various functions to achieve the productivity required and a vessel has around 3-5 quay cranes working on it.
Innovation is at the heart of PSA’s work in its bid to increase productivity and efficiency at the ports. For example, Pi Rui explained how PSA came up with double-stacked prime movers, in which two containers are stacked onto a truck. Two berths inaugurated as the “PSA Living Lab” have been dedicated to the testing of new technologies for the port and logistics industry, such as driverless trucks known as Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV). Aside from a tour of the wharf area and an explanation of port processes, the group also visited the Control Centre, where staff plan and monitor port operations using proprietary software developed by PSA.
In a continual effort to maintain and improve HSSE (Health, Safety, Security, Environment) standards at the port, InnoVenture students have been tasked to develop a system that can help to detect fatigue among prime mover drivers. The group sat down with Pi Rui and Elton Fong, Assistant Vice President of PSA unboXed, to discuss the issue; including various factors that may cause fatigue as well as measures already in place.
Following an insightful morning at the port, our teams got to work on finding possible solutions.
Pi Rui (right) using a model of PSA facilities to explain some of the challenges of port operations
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