Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, February 14, 2009

SBMA to prioritize shipping firms as terminal operator

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will make available the bid documents for the privatization of the operations of the New Container Terminal-2 (NCT-2) on Feb. 24, with shipping lines as the preferred operators of choice.

Ferdinand Hernandez, SBMA senior deputy administrator for operations, said the SBMA favors shipping lines for the operations of the NCT-2 as a transshipment hub, although port operators will also be accommodated if they partner with a shipping firm. The deadline for bids will be on April 4.

"We are really looking at developing the cargo volume in Subic through the operations of a shipping line," Mr. Hernandez said.

The NCT-1, which is right beside the NCT-2 in Cubi point, was awarded to the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp (SBITC), a subsidiary of the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI). Container handling operations were transferred to the SBITC in April last year.

The construction of the NCT-1 and NCT-2 started in 2004 through a P5.8-billion official development assistance loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) for SBMA’s port development project.

Both terminals have a cargo handling capacity of 300,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. The NCT-1 generates about P4 million monthly for the SBMA.

The SBMA will also build six to seven new warehouses this year for bulk and break bulk goods in a 10,000-square meter property in line with its logistics hub modernization project.

Mr. Hernandez also noted that despite the global economic slump, business activity at the SBMA has been holding up due to the opening of the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway.

The SMBA, he added, was on track to meet its P330-million collection target for the year. After the NCT-1’s opening and the removal of exemptions formerly given to the Philippine Coastal Corp., the SBMA collected about P270 million in 2008, or almost a quarter increase from a year earlier.

"[It] is still difficult to predict [our performance] because of the present economic situation," Mr. Hernandez added.

There are now about 20 vessels in Subic that pay P6 million in monthly anchorage fees. JOSE BIMBO F. SANTOS, BusinessWorld

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