SBMA okays 95% increase in port fees in Harbour Centre JV
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has approved as much as 95 percent increase in port fees in Subic ports under its joint venture agreement with Harbour Centre Terminal Inc.
A certification from the Office of the Board Secretariat of SBMA showed that SBMA passed Resolution Number 10-02-35-35 last February 19, 2010 approving two additional provisions in the proposed JVA with HCPTI.
The first additional provision is the tariff adjustment clause “giving the operator flexibility to adjust tariff rates, provided that: (a) the tariff adjustment will in no case exceed 95% of the Philippine Port Authority-approved tariffs in the port of Manila; (b) the rate adjustment shall not exceed twice in one year; and (c) the rate adjustment can only take effect with a 30-day notice to SBMA and the public in general.
The other provision is the security deposit in the amount of P2 million to cover unpaid utilities.
Atty. Eulalio A. Ventura, counsel of Amerasia International Terminal Services Inc. (AITSI), said in a press conference that this could be the basis for the promised revenue of $500,000 annually.
But even then, Ventura said the promised revenue of HCPTI is a lot lower than the revenue contribution of the existing port operators in Subic which stood at $800,000 in 2009. At present, port fees (arrastre and stevedoring) in Subic is P102 per revenue ton.
“SBMA records show that it earned total revenues from existing cargo handlers at the Freeport of P38.5 million in 2009 alone,” he pointed out.
AITSI was joined by other Subic port users – Subic Seaport Terminal Inc., and Mega Subic Terminal Services Inc. in decrying SBMA’s joint venture deal with HCPTI saying its is a boon to government.
The deal, signed last February 24 this year, grants JCPTI the right to be SBMA’s exclusive cargo handler of bulk, break-bulk and general cargo for a period of 25 years.
“This will effectively monopolize Subic ports to the detriment of existing Freeport locators and cargo handlers,” said Ventura.
HCPTI, which is owned by businessman Reghis Romero, shall have the right to operate, maintain and develop the five Subic ports including Naval Supply Depot, Boton, Alaba, Rivera and Bravo.
Ventura admitted that upon the encouragement of SBMA administrator Armand C. Arreza, Amerasia also submitted its unsolicited approval for the Subic ports but which was rejected twice by SBMA.
Ventura, however, said that Amerasia’s proposal did not propose for a monopoly of the Subic ports unlike the HCPTI proposal.
Already, SBMA has set a deadline of April 4, 2010 for those interested parties to participate in Swiss challenge versus the HCPTI proposal.
Ventura, however, called the Swiss challenge a farce because no one among them could meet the P2 billion paid up capital requirement.
Meantime, Ventura said the port operators are awaiting for the reply of SBMA to give them a chance for a day in court by granting its request for a public hearing where they can air their side and for SBMA to defend its decision. (BCM) regular fare, passengers are refunded although not the full amount paid but for budget promo fares they don’t refund any at all,” Maglaya said. Maglaya also said that CAB has expressed willingness to revisit its policy. The promo fares are CAB approved.