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General News of Thursday, 28 February 2002

Source: GRi (Patrick Firempong, Singapore)

President tours world's largest transhipment hub in Singapore

Singapore (Singapore) 28 February 2002- President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday, paid a working visit to PSA Corporation Limited in Singapore, the world's largest transhipment hub, on the second day of his three-day official visit to the island.

Mr M. M. Subramaniam, Vice President of the Corporation for Africa and East Asia, met President Kufuor on arrival and briefed the Ghanaian delegation about their operations before they toured of the main harbour.

PSA Corporation Limited formed in October 1997, operates four container terminals at Brani, Pasir Panjang, Tanjong Pagar and Keppel Terminals with a total of 37 berths being operated as one integrated facility. It also operates two multi-purpose terminals at Pasir Panjang.

PSA is most advanced and equipped with 15-metre deep berths with quay cranes able to reach across 18 rows of containers to accommodate the world's largest container vessels. The terminal also boasts of a state-of-the-art bridge crane system that allows each operator to handle up to six cranes as opposed to one previously.

The Corporation handles 25 per cent of the world's total container transhipment throughput and 7.4 per cent of the global container throughput. In 2000, PSA managed 19.77 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU's) of containers at all its ports around the world including 17.04 million TEU's in Singapore.

It was voted the "Best Container Terminal" at Lloyd's List Maritime Asia Awards for three consecutive years, 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was the first Singaporean multi-national corporation to be conferred the prestigious Singapore Quality Award for business excellence.

President Kufuor also visited the Ulu Pandan Community Club one of the many centres which provides an avenue for the citizens to socialise and interact among themselves within every community and operated under the People's Association of Singapore.

Members of the Association are professionals in their various fields of endeavour but work as volunteers for the management of the Clubs, which have their own Management Committees.

Mr Ong Keng Yong, Chief Executive Director of the Association, briefing President Kufuor, said it had 180 community Clubs for the 4.3 million people of Singapore and a staff of 2,300 employed by the Association with about 90 per cent of their finances from the government and the remaining 10 per cent from the people.

He said the clubs were the key agencies to reach the people to educate the people on government's policies and decisions, explaining them to the people and feedback received are sent to the government.

The Clubs also provide affordable recreational, educational, cultural and social facilities for all categories of people, who participate in their activities and programmes.

Mr Yong said their operations were non-political but secular where every citizen could participate, all executive positions to the management level were appointed by the people themselves within the communities except the youth committees where they were elected through elections because of the peculiar nature of the youth worldwide.

President Kufuor commended the government for its initiative to have the entire nation networked or bonded together, adding; "the concept of the establishment of the Clubs are the product of deep thinking".

He said the concept had brought to the fore, the best ideological divisions of the world, although non-partisan it had some political inclination, which was unique and had assisted the people of Singapore to develop their country.

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