Jurong reclamation


Singapore's first industrial estate is in Jurong. Before its transformation into an industrial hub, Jurong was a hilly landscape covered with forest, as well as rivers swarmed with crocodiles. In addition, there were also fish and prawn ponds. In June 1961, 6 500 ha of land in Jurong was recommended for development. The task was initially undertaken by the Economic and Development Board (EDB) but Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) took over when JTC was founded in 1968. Subsequently, as the need for more land increases, the existing coastal and riverine marshes as well as foreshores were reclaimed. This expanded the estate to cover part of Tuas and the southern islands as well. In 1993, work commenced to combine the seven southern islands to form Jurong Island with the objective of creating a world-class chemicals hub. The entire Jurong Reclamation Scheme, initially targeted to finish in 2010, was speeded up to completion in 2003 due to a rapidly expanding chemical and petrochemical industry.

Reclamation on and from mainland
Industrialisation planning for Jurong's coastline was well underway as early as the mid-1950s. A sea-port concept was proposed that would require the dredging of a deep-water basin inland from the coast. Jurong was chosen as it was sparsely populated and its vast tracts of land were state-owned, making requisition processes less complicated. The water along the coast and around nearby islands were also deep enough for ocean-going vessels while the numerous hills could provide fill material for swamps and sea reclamation and at the same time become industrial sites themselves. In 1963, the Parliament approved the reclamation of approximately 46 ha of foreshore and sea-bed to the south of Jurong Industrial Estate. Hills were levelled to fill swamps and marshes and to reclaim some shallow foreshore areas.

In October 1972, the Parliament approved the reclamation of a total of approximately 450 ha of the foreshore at Jurong. A year later, it approved an additional 209 ha. To provide additional waterfront land for marine industries like shipyards, two sea channels, namely the Gul and Benoi Channels, were constructed as part of the reclamation scheme. Both channels had a minimum depth of 6 m. Pulau Samulun, nestled in a small bay enclosed by the industrial estate, was doubled in size as part of the reclamation scheme. The island turned into a modern striving shipyard with a drydock capacity, claiming to be the largest in Southeast Asia.

In that same year, the Jurong estate expanded to Tuas. A reclamation of 332 ha of the foreshore and seabed off Tuas was approved. In 1978, JTC proposed to reclaim a further 35 ha. However, by the 1980s, industrial land had grown scarce, which prompted JTC to look to the southwestern islands.

Reclamation of southwestern islands
Reclamation of the islands off the southwestern coast of Singapore began when JTC enlarged three islands in the second half of the 1970s. Between 1976 and 1977, Pulau Ayer Merbau merged with five small islets. The group was then leased to Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore to build a petro-chemical complex. In 1978, Pulau Seraya merged with Pulau Seburus Dalam and Pulau Seburus Laut at a cost of $32.7 million for the construction of a power station. A total of 193 ha were reclaimed. Finally, the merging of Pulau Sakra and Pulau Bakau yielded an enlarged island that was named Pulau Sakra. Pulau Ayer Merbau was further expanded between 1990 and June 1992. In the 1990s, the region was experiencing a boom in the chemical industry with an increasing number of multinational corporations considering investments in chemical plants in Singapore. Land on the islands was snapped up, that it was foreseen that land would have been used up by 1997.

To meet the demand for industrial land, JTC embarked on a reclamation scheme on mega proportions. The project was approved in 1991 and work began in 1993 to merge seven southwestern islands - Pulau Merlimau, Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Ayer Merbau, Pulau Seraya, Pulau Sakra, Pulau Pesek and Pulau Pesek Kecil - into one that came to be called Jurong Island. The island was slated to house a world class chemical and petrochemical complex with related supporting industries. The entire project was to be carried out in four stages and was estimated to cost $6 billion. It would add 2,000 ha of industrial land to the combined area of 1,000 ha of seven islands. The project was initially scheduled to complete in 2010, but work had speeded up due to unrelenting demand from industries. As a result, the deadline was brought forward to 2003. The merging of the islands brought about a high degree of economies of scale. Facilities such as jetties, berthing structures, warehousing, waste treatment, fire fighting, medical and emergency response, a common service corridor and infrastructure like drains and roads were commonly developed and commonly shared.


Marsita Omar


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(Call no.:RSING 328.5957 SIN)

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(Call no.:RSING 328.5957 SIN)

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(Call no.:RSING 328.5957 SIN)

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(Call no.:RSING 328.5957 SIN)

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Call no.:RSING 328.5957 SIN)

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Call no.:RSING 328.5957 SIN)

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The information in this article is as valid as at 2006 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Trade and industry
Singapore offshore islands
Geography>>Geographical Areas and Countries>>Singapore Offshore Islands
Commerce and Industry>>Industries
Reclamation of land--Singapore
Law and government>>National development>>Land use

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