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To help address port congestion: HCPTI embarks on ambitious modernization project

HCPTI chairman Reghis Romero II (middle) during the blessing of the company’s newly arrived cargo handling equipment.  

MANILA, Philippines - One of the country’s largest private commercial ports has embarked on an ambitious modernization project aimed not only at expanding capacity, but also helping Manila address its port congestion problem.

In an interview with The STAR, Harbour Center Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) chairman and CEO Reghis Romero II said from handling five million metric tons of cargo last year, they expect the new bulk and break bulk port facility to move six million MT this year.

HCPTI is installing 10 sets of bulk conveyors that will connect the ships carrying cargo to a bulk cargo bay, thereby reducing drastically the waiting time for the vessels. Together with this, the storage containment facility is being expanded to accommodate more bulk cargo.

According to Romero, HCPTI handles around 80 percent of bulk and break bulk cargo (or non-containerized cargo) in Manila. Most of the cargo that they handle include steel, lumber, rice, gypsum, silicon, clinker and coal.

 At present, about 70 to 80 percent of the port’s capacity is utilized and Romero expects the volume of cargo to increase by at least 10 percent every year.

 HCPTI has just finished a dredging project to expand the capacity of its port to accommodate more ships.

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 To ensure better handling capacity and for faster bulk handling, the company has acquired a number of new equipment which includes two units of 10-tonner clamshells, two tractor heads, and two flatbed three axle trailer for cargo hustling purposes, 15 forklifts of 15 tons each, three 70-ton cranes. Six more backhoes are arriving soon.

 Romero said that they have spent about half a billion pesos for these projects.

 In addition, HCPTI has adopted the latest technology to help its customers track their cargo as well as ensure smooth operations in the port for both clients and management.

“With this technology, customers are able to monitor the movement of their cargo real-time and make sure that what is being unloaded is accurately counted,” he pointed out.

 The first of its kind in the country, the Unified Port Operations Real-Time Technology (U-PORT) system enables HCPTI clients to transact with the firm using their smartphones or tablets. By downloading for free the application, clients can apply for vessel berthing, book for truck vehicle entry, monitor cargo status, and receive company service updates, among others.

 Romero said the U-PORT mobile app is designed for clients who are always on the go and want real-time information right at the palm of their hands, anytime, anywhere.

 HCPTI has also put up a building which serves as a one-stop shop for all customer needs, including customs requirement.

Hailed as a first-class business port, HCPTI is located within the 79-hectare Manila Harbour Center. Touted as the Port City of Manila, it is at the forefront in becoming the total distribution and logistics hub of the country.

Company officials noted that for the first time in the Port of Manila, there is a private commercial port that can complement under capacities in the government ports and adequately respond to domestic and foreign cargo traffic requirements.

HCPTI currently enjoys the distinction of having acquired three ISO certifications in one sweep, a five-year certification/statement of compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code standards, unmatched bulk and breakbulk cargo turnaround time, zero pilferage, and now the country’s first mobile system for online port transactions and cargo monitoring.

The company is authorized to handle foreign vessels transporting non-containerized cargoes and all types of domestic vessels shipping both containerized and non-containerized cargoes.

It is also the first integrated and modern port terminal in the country operating two quays with a total of 1,105 meters in length that can accommodate all types of shipping vessels.

There are plans to expand nationwide, but according to Romero, all these will depend on being presented the right project.

Romero’s group is not only into port city development but is also into residential and commercial development.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has awarded the lease and development of the 5.2-hectare Pamayanang Diego Silang (PDS) commercial lot in Taguig City to the consortium of R-II Builders Inc. and MGS Construction Inc.

The consortium submitted a bid of P70 million, higher than the P53 million minimum floor price set by the BCDA.

 

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