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NUS wins US$1m prize for future port design

26 April 2013

(From left) Mr Lucien Wong, Chairman, MPA; Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Transport; Assoc Prof Lee; Assoc Prof Chew; and Mr Teo Siong Seng, Chairman of SMI at the award ceremony

The SINGA Port winning concept integrates design features of a double-storey structure with equipment such that the whole system works effectively to achieve high productivity

A group of NUS and Shanghai engineers has won what may well be the largest sum of prize money for a design competition in the maritime sector - a cool US$1 million. The winners of the Next Generation Container Port (NGCP) Challenge organised by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) were announced at the Singapore International Maritime Awards 2013 during the recent Singapore Maritime Week.

The achievement by team SINGA (Sustainable Integrated Next Generation Advanced) Port - comprising researchers from NUS Faculty of Engineering and Centre for Maritime Studies, Shanghai Maritime University and Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company - was all the more impressive considering they had to vie with 55 other competitors from 25 countries, among them big established names in the industry.

The Challenge seeks to identify worldwide submissions of innovative proposals and ideas on planning, design and operation of the next generation of container ports that showcase performance, productivity and sustainability. For this particular challenge, the project calls for a new design for the next-generation container terminal that provides a quantum leap in handling efficiency and productivity to support future shipping in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.

The judges were struck by SINGA Port's design proposing a revolutionary double-storey container terminal concept that surpasses the port requirements stipulated for the project, as well as frees up valuable space to improve land and labour productivity. The two-storey structure provides shelter which reduces energy consumption for temperature control of containers, and protects equipment and vehicles from harmful ultra-violet light.

The key strength of the concept derives from the integration of many special design features of the double-storey structure with the equipment employed, such that the whole system can work harmoniously to achieve the high productivity target and sustainability requirements, pointed out Associate Professor Chew Ek Peng and Associate Professor Lee Loo Hay, leading team members from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

They attributed the remarkable container port concept to the synergistic efforts of the multidisciplinary team from the two countries, which includes leading researchers and highly experienced practitioners, to generate innovative ideas that are achievable and integrated.

Another team in the finals made up of NUS students and industry collaborators secured a commendation award of US$100,000.