Ho Cheah Tien

Manager (Berth & Yard Planning & Design), PSA Civil Engineering Team
"We live in a golden time where technologies and innovations are advancing at lightning pace. Take hold of the myriad opportunities available with a dose of carpe diem and an exciting future in civil engineering awaits!"

Getting to know Cheah Tien

I’ve always had a special affinity for the vast seas, which have a soothing effect on me. Enlisting into the Navy during my National Service gave me a glimpse into the maritime industry and the importance of the Port of Singapore to our nation’s economic growth and global connectivity. Upon graduating, I thought, what better way to start off my career than to be at the heart of the world’s largest transhipment hub – PSA Singapore (PSA)?

Since joining the organisation, my career journey has been rewarding and filled with enriching opportunities. I’m still learning new things every day and life is never dull as we are constantly re-imagining the future of Civil Engineering!

What do Civil Engineers do at PSA?

People often associate Civil Engineering with tall buildings and skyscrapers, which are seldom seen in the port. The Civil Engineering team at PSA specialises in managing marine structures and complex service infrastructure, and plays a crucial role in the business. The complex underground service infrastructure, which cover electricity, water, drainage, sewerage, and communication systems, are important civil infrastructure that form the backbone to support business operations. We also manage the full structure lifecycle – from planning and design to construction and maintenance of these completed developments.

Our daily work involves working with multiple internal and external stakeholders to ensure the success of each project. This gives us the opportunity to engage and learn from industry experts, government agencies, business partners, users, contractors, suppliers, and legal teams.

Beyond dealing with civil infrastructure, we also get the chance to participate in digitalisation and sustainability projects. For example, the team looks at how we can harness the full technological capabilities of building information modelling (BIM), Geographic Information System (GIS), digital twins, and 3D printing to improve productivity.

On the sustainability front, amongst the initiatives we are working on include spearheading the adoption of hydrogen in Singapore by establishing new industry standards and using green concrete in construction projects to reduce our carbon footprint.

What's interesting on the Civil Engineering front at PSA?

Currently, one key focus is the development of Tuas Port, slated to be the world’s largest fully automated terminal upon completion in the 2040s. It is exciting to know that the work we do today will leave a legacy as we are writing the next chapter of Singapore’s maritime history. 

Something to highlight is that civil engineers in PSA have opportunities for global exposure as we are involved in overseas projects as well! The Singapore team is actively involved in PSA’s Southeast Asia projects, which include countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand. We extend our civil engineering expertise in our overseas ports by carrying out technical feasibility studies to support our business development team make informed business and financial decisions.

Tell us about the culture and work environment

If I could use 3 words to describe the work environment, they would be: (1) Dynamic – things are agile and fast-paced. (2) Camaraderie – people are welcoming, friendly, and open-minded. I have met many great mentors, colleagues and friends, who have led and guided me in my career. (3) Challenging – there is no lack of opportunity to stretch your talents as the team is constantly exploring the potential of how Civil Engineering can be incorporated into our business and operations.

Any advice for young graduates aspiring to be a Civil Engineer?

Stay curious and always keep an open mind. Reaching new heights in Civil Engineering is no longer only about constructing the tallest building. We live in a golden time where technologies and innovations are advancing at lightning pace. Take hold of the myriad opportunities available with a dose of carpe diem and an exciting future in civil engineering awaits!