A country takes pride in its infrastructure. And when it is a tiny island city-state called Singapore it can take a lot of it. Join us, as we take you through Singapore’s award-winning infrastructure.
Words: Amogh Purohit
Singapore, the island city-state in Southeast Asia, is well-positioned to be the infrastructure hub with a strong cluster of companies involved in various development activities. This brings flocks of investors and tourists to Singapore.
And when it comes to making a good first impression, Singapore does it a bit too well. You are greeted with sunflower gardens inside the airport. No wonder, the Changi airport is consistently voted the world’s best in both industry and consumer polls.
The success of the airport has added a feather to Singapore’s very colourful hat and made it a regional aviation and air cargo hub. It caters to 80 airlines serving more than 180 cities in over 50 countries. The three terminals at Changi airport together handle 70 million passengers a year. Since it commenced operations in 1981 it has won more than 250 awards.
Most of Singapore’s world-renowned infrastructure has been inherited from the colonial era. This includes a well-developed transport network. After independence in 1965, the Singapore government made massive investments and put in efforts to constantly improve the infrastructure.
This island city packs a punch when it comes to infrastructure. It is served by a network of 3,324 km of roads. In the past, Singapore saw a huge spike in ownership of private cars. Quick steps were taken and a reliable public transport system was put in place.
According to a global survey of 221 cities, Singapore has the world’s best infrastructure including glass buildings, swanky malls, a top-notch airport, public transportation and water distribution system.
Take for instance the roadways. Singapore has 3,324 km of modern, well-maintained roads of which 150 km are expressways. But to avoid congestion, the city has priced vehicle entry into its central business district since 1975. These are used to develop more transport infrastructure.
And if you decide to commute by trains, do not think twice. Singapore has one of the most organised railway networks in the world. During the occupation in World War II, the rails to Port Weld (now known as Kuala Sepetang and located in Malaysia) along with 150 miles of the East Coast Line were used by the Japanese to build the Burma-Siam Railway, also known as the Death Railway.
The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in Singapore consists of the North-South, East-West and North East lines, with a total track length of 138 km and served by 64 stations. The trains are connected to high-speed broadband internet.
In fact, Singapore is the most wired country in the world, with a household broadband penetration rate of 115.2%. This ties Singapore with the US as the least expensive place in the world to make a phone call or surf the internet using a broadband connection.
The ports and maritime infrastructure are often referred to as the Gateway to Asia. Over 5,000 companies, employing over 100,000 people, keep the ports busy. This industry contributes over 7 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Global leaders in shipping finance, ship broking, risk management and marine insurance have flourished here. Being at the epicenter of a network of trade routes and well-connected to more than 600 ports in over 120 countries, Singapore is a key hub port.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore monitors and regulates the development of ports in Singapore working in tandem with operators and shipping companies.
The Port of Singapore is the busiest container transhipment hub in the world. The port handles around one-fifth of global container transhipment throughput. A total of 130,575 vessels arrived at the port in 2009. It is one of the top bunkering ports in the world – 42.4 million metric tonnes of bunkers (fuel replenishment for ships) reported to have been sold in 2014..
The island is the world’s third-largest petrochemical refiner and operates the most technically advanced and efficient shipbuilding and ship repair facilities in Southeast Asia.
And if you think there isn’t room for anything more on this tiny island, you are wrong. This city-state has the world’s highest, largest rooftop pool at the Marina Bay Sands, the world’s freakiest theme park and a whole museum dedicated to ‘public housing’.
It is also home to two of the world’s three most expensive buildings including the Marina Bay Sands. It also has a concert hall shaped like a durian fruit and a museum that looks like a split banana.
In Singapore, 19th century British architecture is still intact with all its grand white monoliths, columns, balustrades and verandas, making it a delight to walk through the city and take pictures. There’s a lot to do in Singapore wherever you are, whichever time of the day.