Singapore politician Chan Chun Sing, Minister in Prime Minister’s Office, posted on his Facebook page on New Year’s Day that with the sailing of the 8,749 teu Sofia Express on 31 December 2016 the terminal was closed.
“It was a poignant moment as some of our workers gave the cranes a final salute. Others shed tears and reflected over the years they spent at the yard,” Chan, who is also secretary-general of Singapore National Trade Union’s Congress, said in the post.
However, industry sources told Seatrade Maritime News that while the Sofia Express could be the last containership to call the terminal, with container operations having been gradually transferred to newer, more efficient and deeper draught terminals, Tanjong Pagar Terminal remained operational.
Recent times have seen car carriers call at the terminal and containers remain stacked in the yard, including many from bankrupt Hanjin Shipping.
Tanjong Pagar Terminal is the oldest of PSA’s container terminals in Singapore and welcomed the first containership Nihon to call the country in 1972.
PSA’s lease on Tanjong Pagar Terminal expires in 2027. After the lease expires the terminal is expected to be redeveloped into waterfront commercial and residential district. The leases on the neighbouring Keppel and Brani Terminals also expire in 2027.
PSA meanwhile continues develop Pasir Panjang Terminal, and the first phase of a new megaport in Tuas is scheduled to start operations in 2020.
Tanjong Pagar terminal comprises seven berths and is equipped with 27 quay cranes.