Kai Yeng is currently a member of the Singapore Centre for Liveable Cities’ Expert Panel. He was a Group Director in the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the land use planning authority of Singapore. In the 1990s, he led the planning team in developing the long term land use Concept Plan, the Master Plan and the Development Guide Plans for Singapore. Later in the early 2000s, he was involved extensively in the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco City Project, a key project involving the Chinese and Singapore governments, where he helped formulate the Master Plan and the subsequent detailed urban plans. He had also headed the Engineering Division in PSA Corporation for a few years, taking charge of the engineering aspects of container terminal operations, operational readiness of port equipment as well as the physical expansion of PSA ports in Singapore, China, Yemen, South Korea, India and Portugal.
The growth of Singapore’s seaports was instrumental to the country’s survival and overall economic success post-independence. In spite of our limited land space and natural resources, coupled with a small domestic market, Singapore has come a long way in our maritime journey. We are the world’s busiest transhipment hub and have a high connectivity to 600 ports worldwide. The maritime industry contributes approximately 7% to our gross domestic product and most of the revenue is gained through bunkering and shipping services. Apart from being large financial investments,
seaports are also land-intensive. Currently, 3% of the country’s land is zoned for ports and airports, with this area projected to double by 2030. These areas include infrastructure such as port areas, port-related facilities, ferry points/terminals, cruise centres and landing sites.
Singapore’s limited land area of 710km2 and large population size of 5.5 million gives rise to a highly dense and urbanised setting, where fitting in the substantial land required for a world class port is a big challenge. Given Singapore’s scarce resources, this study looks at the importance of urban governance and integrated master planning in managing our ports as part of a global city that is both liveable and sustainable. In particular, it will examine the trade-offs involved in city planning in relation to the port.