Singapore Changi Airport is currently undergoing a multi billion-dollar expansion program which includes the construction of two new terminals, a third runway, airport apron and a new shopping mall. One of the key highlights of this expansion is the S$3 billion Terminal 5 (T5). Once completed in 2025, T5 will be able to handle a capacity of 50 million passengers a year – more than Terminals 1, 2 and 3 combined.
[Body To prepare for its construction, an estimated 45 million m3 of earth will have to be moved. KTC Group Holdings, a specialist in earthmoving, has been tasked to handle a third – 15 million m3 – of the site’s earthmoving responsibilities.
As one of T5’s sub-contractors, KTC finds itself on one of Singapore’s most prestigious constructions projects, but the firm comes from humble beginnings. Having started in 1988 with only a single excavator today, the company carries more than 1,000 pieces of equipment in its fleet, comprising both excavators and trucks, with many supplied by Volvo.
At the moment, around 40 Volvo A40 articulated haulers plus a number of excavators operated by KTC are working 12 hours a day at the T5 site. So great is the demand that some of these machines had to be brought in from mining sites in Kalimantan, where KTC also has an equipment supply operation. The plan, eventually, is to transition to 24 hours a day to speed up the earthmoving process. During this peak period, KTC is expected to be moving an estimated 1.1 million m3 of earth per month.
“At KTC, we have carved for ourselves a reputation for finishing projects early. Changi T5 is no different, though the demands are challenging, with a mandate to move 15 million m3 of earth within two years. To fulfil this timeline, we must ensure our machines are well-maintained and reliable. This is why we prefer to work with machine suppliers that provide very active customer support,” said Chua Lai Seng, chairman, KTC Group Holdings.
Chua’s trust in Volvo CE was earned when he bought his first Volvo A40 dump truck in 2005, which he sent to work on a coal mine. He was impressed not only by its performance but by the efficient after-sales service Volvo CE provided, spurring him to place more orders for other Volvo CE equipment. Present-day, in Indonesia and Singapore alone, KTC carries nearly 100 Volvo CE excavators and articulated haulers.
The A40 from Volvo CE is one of the world’s best-selling articulated haulers and the company is celebrating an important milestone this year, with the 50th anniversary of the launch of the product line. The unit, which can handle payloads up to 36 t, is a reliable and durable performer, with the all-Volvo drivetrain delivering perfect harmony and optimum productivity. As ever with Volvo CE machines there’s a strong emphasis on fuel efficiency, and this is something that Chua Lai Seng has noted also.
“Besides the management of the machines, I also consider their fuel consumption. Volvo machines have a 5% to 10% lower consumption rate than others,” he says. “Then there’s the value of it. What did I buy it for and what will I re-sell it for? The re-sale value is very important and I am happy that Volvos are highly valued in the market.”
Currently, there are a total of 111 Volvo CE machines used by main contractors, sub-contractors and rental companies working on T5. 78 of these arrived new at the site, while the others are either existing local units or have been shipped in from overseas.