Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

US-based cargo forwarder to set up shop in Subic

US-based cargo forwarded Atlas Shippers International Inc. announced it is setting up a port in the Subic Freeport which will serve as the firm’s hun for its North Luzon operations.

The port in Subic will serve as an entry point for balikbayan boxes for Atlas, one of the top three door-to-door cargo forwarders in the country.

Atlas used the Subic port for the first time on Thursday, officially marking the US-based firm’s intent to establish the Subic Bay Freeport as its hub for Northern Luzon operations.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza said the business sector is now taking notice of the advantages of using the Port of Subic, which boasts of two container terminals with a combined capacity of 600,000 TEUs.

“This is a small beginning towards greater things to come,” said Arreza during the ribbon cutting ceremony held at the New Container Terminal-1 (NCT-1) compound that was also attended by Subic-Clark Alliance Development Council chairman Edgardo Pamintuan, Subic customs district collector Marietta Zamoranos, and some officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Arreza also pointed out that the SBMA is positioning Subic Bay as a maritime gateway for Luzon and a prime logistics hub for Southeast Asia.

Atlas president Joel Longares said the company’s cargo load, which come from branches in Australia, Hongkong, Italy and the United States, will peak at about 30 containers per month.

He said Atlas will hire about 50 employees for its Subic hub, where they will also install cargo sorting equipment.

Atlas currently has a warehouse in Las Piñas City, which Longares said will be maintained for their Southern Luzon operations.

The first container to arrive through the port of Subic, he added, will be a “test run” to determine the viability of this port as the sole discharging point for Luzon.

“We’ll have to determine if we could save money this way,” said Longares, explaining that boxes for delivery to Southern Luzon will be hauled by truck from this Freeport, to their Las Piñas hub.

He added that to offset trucking costs, they will be continuing on Subic’s tax incentives, lower tariff rates (as compared to the Port if Manila), complete support facilities and infrastructures, strategic location made more accessible by the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, and faster document processing.

Longares said the balikbayan box in a billion-peso industry “with much room for growth.” With Subic as their hub f operations, Longares said he expects the company to grow significantly, and even expand to service outbound cargoes.

By. Ma. Elisa Osorio – Philippine Star

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