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Government, industry to improve Jurong Island construction productivity: Tharman

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This will smooth demand for manpower and help local firms better plan for projects, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Tuesday.

AS activity increases on Jurong Island, the government is stepping in to work with process construction and maintenance firms that support the energy and chemicals industry to improve sector productivity.

While it will be a long-term effort, the industry will start with two initiatives.

First, it will start a portal to aggregate data in order to reduce overlaps in project scheduling among companies, a common problem in the industry now. This will smooth demand for manpower and help local firms better plan for projects, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Tuesday.

The government will also set aside land for a dormitory near Jurong Island to reduce travelling time for workers, reducing fatigue and improving on-site productivity.

These were developed by a committee comprising representatives from major plant owners, contractors and government agencies that have started meeting since January last year. The Process Construction and Maintenance Management Committee will reveal more plans next year.

Mr Shanmugaratnam announced these at the opening of a chemical plant by specialty chemicals firm Evonik Industries on Tuesday. The 500 million-euro (S$807 million) plant, which will produce methionine used in animal feed, is the firm's largest chemical investment in the world. It will create about 200 jobs.

With an annual capacity of 150,000 metric tonnes, the plant will make nearly a quarter of Evonik's total 580,000 metric tonnes. Evonik has four other methionine plants; Singapore's is its first in Asia. Asia's appetite for methionine has grown due to progress in feed technology, rapid population growth and a rising consumption of meat, said Evonik.

The firm added that it chose Singapore as the location for its new plant due to the "excellent" local logistics, business-friendly and stable environment, and the high education level of its population.