Port of Singapore Authority (PSA)

The Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) was formed on 1 April 1964 to take over the functions, assets and liabilities of the Singapore Harbour Board. With the development of Jurong Industrial Estate, the Jurong Port was opened in 1965. Further expansion followed in 1971 when the PSA converted the British Naval Base Store Basin into the Sembawang Wharves. Singapore became the first port in South-East Asia to accommodate a third-generation container vessel with the opening of a container berth at Tanjong Pagar on 23 June 1972. Pasir Panjang Wharves was set up in 1974.

PSA operated five maritime gateways at the time: Keppel Wharves, Jurong Port, Sembawang Wharves, Tanjong Pagar Container Terminal and Pasir Panjang Wharves. There were about 12 km of wharves and more than 1.5 million sq m of warehouses.

The PSA also contributed to Singapore's tourism efforts when it set up the World Trade Centre In 1972. In addition, the ferry terminal helped to boost Sentosa as a tourist attraction. The opening of the Maritime Museum by the PSA at Sentosa in 1975 gave visitors a glimpse of the port's history.

By the 1980s, the sheer volume of container traffic at Tanjong Pagar Container Terminal and the overall increase in cargo handling was stretching the capacity of its staff. Added to this was the pressure of running a global port. As a result, the PSA decided to go high-tech using automated and computerized machinery for the port operations.

The port's efficiency was recognised at the 1988 and 1989 Asian Freight Industry Awards. The PSA won three prestigious awards for the two years: Best Seaport in Asia, Best Warehouse Operator and Best Seaport Terminal Operator. The PSA celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1989. In that year, the World Trade Centre hosted 64 exhibitions. 29 events and 390 conferences and meetings that attracted nearly 5 million visitors.

The PSA opened the Singapore Cruise Centre in December 1991 and commissioned its newest container terminal, the $1.14 billion Brani Terminal.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)
Former Communications Minister Mah Bow Tan introduced a Bill in Parliament on 5 December 1995 to set up a new statutory board called the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). The Bill was passed on 18 January 1996. Under this MPA Bill, the MPA would take over the functions of the Marine Department in the Ministry of Communications, the National Maritime Board and the regulatory departments of the Port of Singapore Authority. The formation of MPA was vital to Singapore to maintain its position as a hub port and major international maritime centre. The PSA would be corporatised and the MPA would regulate it.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was formed on 2 February 1996. Among the many functions of the MPA would be to promote the use and development of the port, control vessel movements and ensure navigational safety and regulate marine services and facilities.

PSA Corporation
A Bill was passed in Parliament on 25 August 1997 to corporatise the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA). This was necessary to ensure the port remain responsive to the developments of the shipping industry and the demands of a marketplace. It would better able to seize new business opportunities and respond more effectively to future challenges.

The PSA was corporatised on 1 October 1997. The new PSA Corporation would retain its core business of operating container terminals and expand into investing, developing and operating international port terminals. It would also engage in related harbour-front developments, warehousing and logistics. The PSA Corporation would continue to manage the World Trade Centre, the existing cruise center and ferry terminals, and the Singapore Expo in Changi.

Veronica Chee

Port of Singapore Authority. (1972).
A review of the past and a look into the future: 1961-1970, 1971-1980. Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RCLOS 387.1095957 POR)

Singapore: Portrait of a Port: A Pictorial history of the port and harbour of Singapore 1819- 1984. (1984). Singapore: MPH Magazines.
(Call no.: RSING 779.93871095957 SIN)

Bill for new body to regulate port industry passed. (1996, January 19). The Straits Times, p. 1.

Bill tabled to set up Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. (1995, December 6). The Straits Times, p. 26.

Board named for new authority. (1996, February 2). The Straits Times, p. 60.

CEO Panel to advise PSA Corp. (1997, October 1). The Straits Times, p. 2.

Corporatisation of PSA by Year-end. (1997, May 13). The Straits Times, p. 1.

Minister introduces Bill to Dissolve the PSA. (1997, July 12). The Straits Times, p. 39.

Movers to help PSA meet new challenges ahead. (1997, August 26). The Straits Times, p. 33.

PSA to be run as new private firm after corporatisation on Oct 1. (1997, September 17). The Straits Times, p. 62.

Further Readings
PSA 25 Anniversary: 1964-1989. (1985). Singapore: PSA.
(Call no.: RSING 387.1095957 PSA)

Yap, C. (1990).
A ports story, a nations success. Singapore: Times Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 387.1095957 YAP)

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. (n.d.). Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). Retrieved October 28, 2003, from 

PSA International. About PSA. Retrieved January 27, 2005, from www.internationalpsa.com/ 

The information in this article is valid as at 2002 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.

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