Monday, July 15, 2024

Southeast Asia – A high growth market

Pipesolution Inc gives us an overview of the local trenchless market

Ahead of Trenchless Asia Michael Wong, Pipesolution Inc gives us an overview of the local trenchless market.

The first Trenchless operations in South East Asia started in Singapore in the 1970s with the introduction of horizontal directional drilling. This was followed by pipe jacking and micro-tunnelling projects a few years later in the early 80s. The initial micro-tunnelling machine was in fact brought into Singapore from Japan to construct Singapore’s first sewerage network system. Since then, South East Asia has never looked back with works extending across the region including Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar.

In the Philippines, one of the most significant trenchless projects was first water system tunnel, better known in the Philippines as the Umiray-Angat Tunnel. The project was launched by Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) in the mid-90s and in 1996, the Robbins 4.88m shielded tunnel boring machine started its long journey. The result was a 13km tunnel with a 4.30m diameter.

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In 2016, the Philippines Government Department of Environment and Natural Resources passed the Clean Water Act Legislation (DAO 2016-08), Republic Act No 9275. The approval of this legislation propelled the demand for wastewater treatment in the Philippines, resulting in sky rocketing demands for sewerage treatment plants and sewerage networks. The rapid development and unplanned urbanisation of Metro Manila and its surrounding cities however makes conventional open excavation method of laying sewer pipelines extremely unfavourable. Hence, giving to the rise in demand for trenchless pipelaying works both for sewers and water.

In terms of service providers or contractors, pre pandemic there were only a handful contractors that were capable of providing trenchless pipe laying services. As of June 2024, there are now over a dozen local and international contractors with this capability. Even though local companies such as DMCI, Linkenergie, FF Cruz, Pipesolution and many other Filipino companies only ventured into the trenchless world less than a decade ago, they now stand side by side with international contractors such as China Water Electric International, Ludwig Pfeiffer and others.

As for demand of new pipelines, at present time Metro Manila only has 20 to 25% sewerage coverage and about 75% freshwater coverage. There is still a big gap between what is needed and what is in place. With the growing population and increase in population in density, the urgency for new pipelines is now greater than ever before. Over 600km of sewer pipeline needs to be laid to meet the current and short-term demand across the Metro Manila and its surrounding cities, the aging and small existing water pipelines also require upsizing, upgrading or additional pipeline.

In summary, there is great growth potential for trenchless technology in the Philippines not just due to significant amount of new pipeline that needs to be laid, but also due to the limited number of service providers. There is also a need for the Philippines to have its very own trenchless society to not only allow current providers to increase their knowledge but also to share their experience both domestically and around the world through affiliations with other societies.

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Newsdesk
Trenchless Works bringing you balanced journalism, accuracy, news and features for all involved in the business of trenchless and no-dig from around the world

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