Singapore

Fate of dock at Changi Creek on the line

The dock at Changi Creek may close following a recent case of cigarette smuggling. TNP's JOSEPH LEE and ISKANDAR ROSSALI
(tnp@sph.com.sg) capture the mood at the dock

It's just a raised platform with a moveable rail on the sea wall.

But the simple Changi Creek dock is used by more than 10 different seafood trading companies for business daily.


Every morning, local and Malaysian fish farmers arrive at the dock - a stone's throw away from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal - with their boats laden with live seafood.

The fish and prawn hauls are then loaded onto waiting trucks of restaurant suppliers.

Residents of Pulau Ubin also use the dock to transport bulky items.

But all that could end - fish farmers said that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) is considering closing the dock over "national security and safety concerns".


Once these trucks are loaded with seafood, they are deliver their cargo to restaurants. TNP PHOTO: ISKANDAR ROSSALI

This follows an incident in July, when Singapore Customs officers traced 15,960 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in styrofoam boxes on a lorry in Bukit Batok to a boat registered to a coastal fish farm off Pulau Ubin.

The cigarettes were loaded onto the lorry at Changi Creek.

The authorities are now seeking feedback and working to engage stakeholders on the security measures to be deployed at Changi Creek. A decision by the authorities is yet to be made.

Mr Phillip Lim, 54, a Changi fish farmer, said the AVA suggested two alternative locations for fish farmers to use should the Changi facility be closed: the Lorong Halus jetty near Punggol and the Senoko Fishery Port in Admiralty.

TWO HOURS


Traders play a large role in the seafood trade as they buy seafood from fish farms and from more traditional fishermen and they sell them to seafood restaurants all around Singapore. TNP PHOTO:  ISKANDAR ROSSALI

But Mr Ong Tian Huat, 60, who runs a fish farm a five-minute boat ride from Changi, said: "It will take me about two hours to reach Senoko. By then, all the fish would have died."

Ms Chew York Kuan, 55, who helps run the family-owned Chew Teck Seng Provision Shop, said the dock is important for business.

"If we have to use the passenger ferry terminal, we will have to hire more workers to carry the items up and down the steps," she said.

"If that happens, our costs will go up."

- The Straits Times Online.

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