Jurong reclamation



Singapore’s first industrial estate is located in Jurong.1 Before its transformation into an industrial estate, Jurong was a landscape covered in forest and swamp, with crocodile-infested rivers.2 There were also fish and prawn ponds.3 Reclamation work began in the 1960s. Swampland was reclaimed using earth obtained from the levelling of hills in the area.4 Subsequently, land was also reclaimed in Tuas and the southern islands.5 In the 1990s, work commenced to combine the southern islands to form Jurong Island, with the objective of creating a petrochemicals hub.6 The task of developing Jurong was initially undertaken by the Economic and Development Board, but the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) was founded in 1968 to oversee the continued industrialisation and management of the estate.7

Reclamation on and from mainland
Work on the industrial estate in Jurong began in the early 1960s, based on recommendations from the United Nations Industrial Survey Team led by Dutch economist Albert Winsemius.8 Prior to this, there had been plans to reclaim swampland in Jurong for food production, but these were cancelled due to the costs involved.9 Jurong was chosen to be the site of an industrial estate because of its vast tracts of undeveloped land that was mostly state-owned. Coastal waters adjoining Jurong were deep and thus suitable for a port, while Jurong itself was also near the existing commercial port of Singapore.10 In 1963, Parliament approved the reclamation of approximately 46 ha of foreshore and seabed next to the Jurong Industrial Estate.11 Hills in the vicinity were levelled to provide earth that was used to fill swamps and the Jurong River.12 Some earth used in land reclamation also came from seabed dredging, conducted as part of work to create a deepwater wharf adjoining Jurong.13

In October 1972, Parliament approved the reclamation of approximately 450 ha of the foreshore at Jurong.14 A year later, the government approved another 84 ha.15 To provide additional waterfront land for marine industries like shipyards, two sea channels – 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, also doubled in size as part of the reclamation scheme. The island was transformed into a modern striving shipyard with a drydock capacity.16

In the 1970s, the government began resettling Tuas residents to free up the land for industrial use.17 Subsequently, in 1972, Parliament approved the reclamation of 332 ha of foreshore and seabed off Tuas, and added another 35 ha in 1978.18 Further approvals were given in 1982, 1996 and 1999 for the reclamation of a total of 2,880 ha of land in an area that came to be known as Tuas View.19 In 2009, it was reported that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore was considering a major port development in Tuas View.20 The terminal is due to be completed in four phases over 30 years, with the first phase launched in April 2016.21

Reclamation of southwestern islands
Reclamation of the islands off the southwestern coast of Singapore began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Parliament granted JTC permission to conduct reclamation works around Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Ayer Merlimau and Pulau Pesek, so that oil refineries might be built on them.22 Between 1976 and 1977, Pulau Ayer Merbau was merged with five small adjacent islets. The merged island was then leased to the Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore to build a petrochemical complex.23 Similarly, in 1979, Pulau Seraya was merged with Pulau Seburus Dalam and Pulau Seburus Laur at a cost of S$32.7 million, and leased to the Public Utilities Board for the construction of a power station.24 A total of 95.6 ha were reclaimed. Finally, the merging of Pulau Sakra and Pulau Bakau yielded an enlarged island that was named Pulau Sakra.25 Pulau Ayer Merbau was further expanded between 1990 and June 1992.26 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.27 Land parcels on the islands were snapped up, and it was foreseen that land there would be used up by 1997.28


To meet the burgeoning demand for industrial land, the JTC embarked on a reclamation scheme on mega proportions. It set out to merge seven southwestern islands – Pulau Merlimau, Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Ayer Merbau, Pulau Seraya, Pulau Sakra, Pulau Pesek and Pulau Pesek Kecil – into a single island. The resultant Jurong Island was used for the development of a petroleum and petrochemicals hub.29



Author

Marsita Omar



References
1. Economic Development Board. (2015, June 15). Our history. Retrieved 2016, December 19 from Economic Development Board website: https://www.edb.gov.sg/content/edb/en/about-edb/company-information/our-history.html; A*Star on the move. (2008, October 18). The Straits Times, p. 91. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Campbell, W. (1972, October 1). Shedding tears over a vanishing breed. The Straits Times, p. 10; Francisco, D. A. (2014, August 25). Making Jurong the jewel of the west. The Straits Times, pp. 18–19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, p. 270. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS])
3. Francisco, D. A. (2014, August 25). Making Jurong the jewel of the west. The Straits Times, pp. 18–19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, p. 270. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS]); Another five hills to be levelled in Jurong. (1969, October 6). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Chia, L. S., Chou, L. M., & Khan, H. (Eds). (1988). The coastal environmental profile of Singapore. Manila: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources, p. 44. (Call no.: RSING 333.917095957 CHI); Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Tuas planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
6. Hoh, M. (1993, May 30). Island merger. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1999, August 4). Reclamation (Jurong Island) (Vol. 70, col. 1949). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069836-ZZ
7. Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, pp. 270–271. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS]); The turning point that led to industrialisation. (1974, June 4). New Nation, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, p. 271. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS]); Winsemius here on last working visit. (1983, December 10). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Swamp project is abandoned. (1954, April 23). Singapore Standard, p. 3; West Coast plan survey begins. (1954, January 20). The Singapore Free Press, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, p. 270. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS])
11. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. Debates: Official report. (1963, June 15). Reclamation (Jurong industrial area and Pulau Samulun) (Vol. 20, cols. 1332—1333). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069096-ZZ
12. Koh, T., et al. (2006). Singapore: The encyclopedia. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, p. 270. (Call no.: RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS])
13. Round-clock work on new Jurong wharf. (1964, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1973, November 30). Reclamation at Jurong (Vol. 32, cols 1364—1366). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069286-ZZ; Plan for new shipbuilding project. (1972, October 28). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1973, November 30). Reclamation at Jurong (Vol. 32, cols 1364—1366). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069286-ZZ; Plan to reclaim 208 acres of seabed. (1973, November 2). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Chia, L. S., Chou, L. M., & Khan, H. (Eds). (1988). The coastal environmental profile of Singapore. Manila: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources, p. 43. (Call no.: RSING 333.917095957 CHI); Opening of 2nd drydock makes Jurong Shipyard Limited the leading shiprepairing dockyard in South-East Asia. (1969, July 15). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Tuas planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
18. More land to be reclaimed at Tuas for future industries. (1978, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1978, March 23). Reclamation at Tuas, Jurong (Vol. 37, cols. 1464—1465). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069367-ZZ
19. Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1982, July 27). Reclamations (Tuas, Pulau Sakra and Pulau Bakau) (Vol. 42, col. 67). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069441-ZZ; Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1996, February 27). Reclamation (Jurong Island) (Vol. 65, cols. 745—746). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069751-ZZ; Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1999, August 4). Reclamation (Jurong Island) (Vol. 70, col. 1949). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069836-ZZ
20. Lim, R., & Wee, V. (2009, December 19). S’pore’s next port of call may be rising in the west. The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Boh, S. (2016, April 30). First part of future mega port in Tuas launched. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg
22. Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1968, December 3). Reclamation (Pulau Ayer Chawan) (Vol. 28, cols. 25—27). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069195-ZZ; Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1971, October 19). Reclamation (Pulau Ayer Merlimau) (Vol. 31, cols. 361—362). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069250-ZZ; Singapore. Parliament. Official reports – Parliamentary debates (Hansard). (1971, December 2). Reclamations (Pulau Pesek and Pulau Ayer Chawan) (Vol. 31, cols. 455—458). Retrieved from Parliament of Singapore website: https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00069251-ZZ
23. Chia, L. S., Chou, L. M., & Khan, H. (Eds). (1988). The coastal environmental profile of Singapore. Manila: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources, p. 44. (Call no.: RSING 333.917095957 CHI)
24. 3 islands off Jurong merged into one. (1979, March 19). The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chia, L. S., Chou, L. M., & Khan, H. (Eds). (1988). The coastal environmental profile of Singapore. Manila: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources, p. 44. (Call no.: RSING 333.917095957 CHI)
25. Chia, L. S., Chou, L. M., & Khan, H. (Eds). (1988). The coastal environmental profile of Singapore. Manila: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources, p. 44. (Call no.: RSING 333.917095957 CHI); Jurong Town Corporation. (2000). The making of Jurong Island: The right chemistry. Singapore: Jurong Town Corporation, p. 19. (Call no.: RSING 711.5524095957 MAK); Loh, H. Y. (1985, September 13). Two islands off Jurong coast become one. The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. More reclamation for Pulau Ayer Merbau. (1990, June 21). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. More reclamation for Pulau Ayer Merbau. (1990, June 21). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Jurong Town Corporation. (2000). The making of Jurong Island: The right chemistry. Singapore: Jurong Town Corporation, p. 24. (Call no.: RSING 711.5524095957 MAK)
29. Jurong Island project can speed up. (1994, December 13). The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Jurong Town Corporation. (2000). The making of Jurong Island: The right chemistry. Singapore: Jurong Town Corporation, p. 46. (Call no.: RSING 711.5524095957 MAK)



The information in this article is as valid as at 2016 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. 

Subject
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