SBMA reports rise in service, logistics firms inside freeport
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT– More companies engaged in service and port-related businesses are locating in this free port, further boosting Subic’s bid to become a globally-competitive service and logistics hub in the Southeast Asian region.
Six-year figures compiled by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) since 2005 indicate the shift in investments toward service and logistics, which now average more than 20 new entrants per year compared to an average of just 14 new projects per year for the manufacturing industry.
“It used to be that manufacturing was king in Subic, but that sector is now moving at a more sedate pace, due primarily to the limited availability of open space in Subic,” said SBMA administrator Armand Arreza.
“On the other hand, we are focusing more on the logistics sector because of the national government’s thrust to build a world-class logistics network in Subic and Clark Freeport,” he added.
Arreza also said that once the expansion areas being eyed by the SBMA in nearby communities become available, “then we might see resurgence in manufacturing projects.”
According to SBMA records, a total of 169 investment projects in the services sector were approved by the SBMA in the last six years, or an average of 28 projects per year, making this sector the fastest-growing in recent years.
Year-on-year figures for the services sector placed new projects at 13 in 2005, 29 in 2006, 37 in 2007, 46 in 2008, 32 in 2009, and 12 in 2010.
The second fastest growth was recorded for the tourism sector, which attracted a total of 158 projects, or an average of 26 projects per year, in the said six-year period.
On the other hand, 120 projects were approved for the trading, warehousing and transshipment sector, or an average of 20 projects per year since 2005.
For the same period, manufacturing projects came in at an average of 14 projects per year, thereby resulting in a six-year total of 84 projects.
Arreza said that the manufacturing sector actually went down to number 5 among the fastest-growing sectors here last year, up by one slot from its number six standing in 2009 at the height of the global economic crisis.
In 2007 and 2008, manufacturing ranked number four, down two slots from its rank as second biggest in 2006.
Arreza also noted that after manufacturing, more service- and logistics-based businesses are gaining more proponents in the Subic Bay Freeport.
These include retailing, which recorded a total of 67 new projects in 2005-2010, or an average of 11 projects per year; port-related, which gained a total of 58 new projects, or an average of 9; information technology, which had 50 projects, for an average of eight per year; and institutions, which got 45 projects, or an average of seven in the six-year period.
Because of the shift towards service and logistics businesses, Arreza said port-related investments surged to a total of $1.82 billion in 2005-2010, followed by tourism-related, which generated some $1.48 billion in the last six years.
In contrast, manufacturing projects took a steady course at a total of $560.41 million in the same period.
Despite this, the manufacturing sector projected the highest number of jobs in the last six years at a total of 14,528.
It was followed by port-related businesses with a total of 10,231 jobs; services sector, with 7,863; tourism, with 8,008; retailing, with 8,239; and trading, warehousing and transshipment, with 3,392.(SBMA-PRD/AMV/PIA Zambales)