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Ssangyong E&C’s Experience-Backed Expertise Captivates Singapore
The Company Secures a Contract to Build the TEL 308 Section of Singapore's Thomson-East Coast MRT Line, Following the Successful Completion of the DTL 921 Section
With Over 40 Years of Construction Expertise Gained from the Raffles Hotel, Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Other Landmarks, Ssangyong E'C Aims to Become an Active Player in the Singaporean Government's Underground Master Plan
Since 2016, Ssangyong E'C has worked on the construction of the TEL 308 Section of Singapore's Thomson-East Coast MRT Line, a crucial section that connects the Thompson Line, which runs across the city-state in the north-south direction, with the southeastern coastal region. A second MRT project helmed by the company, the TEL 308 project involves the construction of two 1.34-kilometer tunnels and the Marine Terrace station in the center of the eastern coastal region. "The Singaporean Government has announced the Underground Master Plan and will launch it in earnest this year. Our project is an important preparatory step for the Plan," a company official said. "Currently, the project is 75.11 percent complete."
■ An Extreme Engineering Challenge Overcome by Experience
Ordered by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the T308 contract is a mega project worth USD 252 million. This 85-month project started in January 2016 and is expected to be completed in February 2023. To participate in the project, Ssangyong E'C (primary contractor, 75% share) formed a joint venture with Hyundai E'C (25% share).
The TEL 308 section requires more stringent attention to safety than other MRT sections due to the area's dense population and unique ground conditions. The neighborhood is packed with HDB high-rises and luxury condos built on weak ground, thus requiring careful control of noise and dust levels as well as cautious construction work that factors in vulnerable ground conditions.
It was the power of experience that made Ssangyong E'C's confident execution of the project possible. Back in March 2016, the company successfully completed the construction of the Downtown Line (DTL) 921 section, the great engineering challenge of the MRT Line. Even though the project only involved the creation of a 1.06-kilometer stretch of the MRT line and two stations, the construction cost per meter was a whopping KRW 700 million (approximately USD 587,000). All major subway construction methods (e.g. NATM, TBM and Open-Cut methods) were utilized, which is rare for a single subway section.
Despite such challenges, Ssangyong E'C achieved 16.75 million accident-free man hours, setting a new world record. Currently, the TEL 308 site has accumulated six million accident-free man hours.
Recognized for its proven track record, the company was able to win this contract despite not being the lowest bidder. The win resulted from the synergy between the Singaporean Government's emphasis on quality over price and Ssangyong E'C's superb safety management capability. The bidding process was characterized by the Price Quality Method (PQM), which comprehensively evaluates the contractor's construction capability, technical expertise, safety management capability and management performance. By scoring high marks in the non-price categories, the company was able to prevail over other bidders and secure the contract.
■ Formation of Triple Hubs: In Dubai, Singapore and Korea
Over the past 37 years, Ssangyong E'C has been a major player in the Singaporean construction industry, as well as in the construction of MRT Lines, and built up trust along the way.
By successfully building a series of landmarks, from Raffles City in 1986, with a 73-story building that broke a Guinness World Record at the time as the world's tallest hotel, to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in 2010, Singapore's new landmark dubbed "the architectural miracle of the 21st century," the company has steadily grown over the years along with Singapore itself. Since its entry into the Singaporean market in 1980, Ssangyong E'C has completed 42 major projects, worth a combined total of USD 7 billion.
One factor that contributed to the securing of the TEL 308 contract was the fact that the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), with assets worth a whopping KRW 217 trillion (approximately USD 182 billion) as of 2014, became the company's largest shareholder in 2015.
In March of 2015, Ssangyong E'C also regained its A1 credit rating, the highest rating assigned by Singapore's Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to evaluate contractors that bid for public projects. A1-rating holders can participate in tenders of any value.
In July the same year, the company also signed a bond facility agreement with the United Overseas Bank (UOB), the largest private bank in Singapore, whereby it was offered preferential rates that only apply to businesses with the highest credit standing. Given these circumstances, Ssangyong E'C is expected to play an active role in the Underground Master Plan recently initiated by the Singaporean Government.
"The ICD is accelerating its push for a three-hub strategy connecting Dubai, Singapore and Korea, which will gradually increase our presence in these countries," a company official said. "We will give our best to ensure the safe completion of the TEL 308 section as well as North-South Corridor (NSC) Sections N102 and N111."