With 5.5 million people on a mere 714 km², real estate in the city-state of Singapore is both scarce and extremely expensive. It is more efficient and cheaper to reclaim land from the sea, than waiting until a spare spot becomes available. Since becoming an independent state in 1965, total surface of the city has increased by more than 20 percent.
Singapore is also a global commercial hub and the biggest port in the world, after Shanghai. As such, finding suitable space for its industry is a permanent challenge. Since the early 1990’s the government of Singapore is developing a major oil- and chemical platform on Jurong Island, in the southwestern part of the island country. Adjacent is the Tuas View, a peninsula and part of Singapore mainland.
Between 1995 and 2012 the western extension of Singapore was carried out in four consecutive phases, and the size of every new phase was at least twice the size of the previous contract. Dredging International and its subsidiary for the South-East Asia region (DIAP) together with partners, have been involved in each of these four phases. The reclamation at Jurong Island was executed simultaneously with expansion works at Tuas View.
The 32 km² Jurong Island is currently one of the three largest petrochemical hubs in the world, a thriving cluster of global companies and oil majors worth more than 30 billion SGD in fixed assets. Yet, it all started with dredging and reclamation by Dredging International: the first two phases consisted in the amalgamation of seven small islets in the deep coastal waters, followed by two campaigns of enlarging and extension.
Back in 1995, ‘only’ 10 million m³ of sand was needed for the reclamation of 135 ha. Between 1996 and the end of 2000, another 812 ha was added requiring 102 million m³ of sand, brought in by large hoppers. Under a separate contract, shore protection works along 17 km of newly established shoreline were carried out. In the so-called Phase 3B contract (1998-2008), the Singapore land area increased with yet another 980 ha which needed 220 million m³ of sand to be transported within 44 months.
Jurong Island Phase 4 increased the land surface of Singapore with 540 ha, and the Tuas View extension added another 920 ha. No less than 550 million m³ of sand was needed to create the 1.460 ha of reclamation. Such a quantity corresponds with the total volume of material that was dredged in the Scheldt mouths in the 70 years since the end of the Second World War.
Also, some 25 million m³ of dredged material was dumped by barges in the new reclamation areas. The sand was brought in by large trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHD), from sand borrow areas in Indonesian and Malaysian waters.
Together with dredging and reclamation during phases 1-4, a variety of other works was executed as well: soil testing, stone dumping, armour slope protection, soft soil replacement, installation of wick drains, jetties for VLCC oil tankers, deepening of fairways, pipeline installation, as well as several civil construction works.