Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Legal issues hound Subic NSD operation

Legal issues are hounding the proposal to consolidate into one operator the naval supply depot (NSD) break bulk cargo operations in Subic.

Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc. (HCPTI) has pledged to invest P6 billion into the facility, according to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator Armand C. Arreza.

Harbour Centre has offered to develop NSD under an unsolicited proposal. The offer would be submitted for approval by the SBMA board today.

If approved, the project would be open for bidding, or Swiss challenge in accordance to the joint venture agreement guidelines.

But Arreza said this early, legal issues surround the planned consolidation to one concessionaire of the NSD.

Currently, there are a number of concessionaires operating inside NSD, holding what they claim are exclusive contracts.

Arreza said SBMA maintains that these contracts, granted in 2002, are not valid since these were awarded without the benefit of a competitive bidding. SBMA is in fact in a legal tussle with a concessionaire for break bulk fertilizer.

So far, three of these concessionaires have indicated they will challenge Harbour Centre’s offer legally. Arreza declined to identify the parties.

Under Harbour Centre’s offer, it will spend P3 billion for improvements and another P3 billion in equipment.

The concession covers a period of 25 years. Under the terms, Harbour Centre will give variable commitments per metric ton of 20 percent depending on volume plus a minimum guarantee of $500,000 per year escalating every year.

Covering 17 hectares, NSD is a common user, multipurpose terminal that caters to various types of cargo.

Arreza said cargo currently passing through NSD include heavy equipment, vehicles and grains.

It handles about 2 million tons of volume every year.

The NSD terminal serves the port requirements of businesses in Central and Northern Luzon and the industries in the Freeport.

NSD terminal’s immediate water frontage is about 800 meters in length and is partly bulk-headed, the remainder having rock rubble shore protection. It has an open storage and transit area of approximately 6.26 hectares.

The project calls for a reclamation site and includes warehousing, cold storage, food terminal and an oil depot. BY IRMA ISIP - malaya.com.ph

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