Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gov't urged to shift foreign cargo traffic to Subic

The Research Education and Institutional Development (REID) Foundation has urged the government to adopt a firm policy to gradually shift foreign cargo traffic from Manila to Batangas and Subic to maximize the use of these ports.

REID president Henry Basilio pointed out that the reason the country built the new terminals in Subic and Batangas was to decongest the port of Manila.

Basilio said it was also intended to generate enough revenue so that the country can pay-off the $240-million loan it borrowed from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to develop the two ports as well as the Phividec port in Cagayan de Oro.

"Otherwise, we will end up with white elephants in Batangas and Subic and even the one in Phividec. Our cargo volume is only growing five percent a year or even less and we have a lot of loans to pay."

Hector Miole, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) assistant general manager for corporate and special projects said they have a contract with existing operator in the Manila port.

"We still have a capacity to meet. And they are building new areas where they can handle more traffic," he noted.

Miole said they are also looking for ways to meet the future container traffic for international ports in Manila without having to move many of them to Batangas.

"Batangas is going to generate its own traffic and more containers will move to Batangas, we will be happy. Subic is beyond our regime," he said.

The joint foreign chambers has proposed to retain North Harbor as a domestic port, shift foreign cargoes to Batangas and Subic and make Manila a cruise port.

"This will decongest Manila and make it necessary to invest as much in road infrastructure for Manila port. There should be a timetable for implementation and incentives for shippers to move. Private port operators should creatively market the ports."

Basilio said the infrastructure group also recommended for issuance of chassis roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) policy which will be in support of the Asean Ro-Ro initiative of the President. By EDU LOPEZ - MB.COM.PH

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