More shipping lines eyeing Subic
Bebot Sison Jr. (The Philippine Star) - November 2, 2014 - 12:00am

SUBIC Bay Freeport , Philippines – More ships will be coming to Subic to unload cargo within the next two weeks, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said.

SBMA Seaport Department general manager Jerome Martinez said that aside from MV Sicilia, which recently made its maiden voyage on the Xiamen-Subic route and unloaded its cargo at the New Container Terminal 2 in Subic, three more foreign container ships would be arriving in Subic direct from their origin.

“They are not diverted vessels from the Port of Manila as a result of port congestion. They really are to come to Subic as part of their itinerary,” Martinez said.

MV Sicilia, a 927-ton Liberian flag container ship, sailed to Manila and then to Subic Bay from Xiamen, China.

MV Sicilia unloaded products from Guangxi, Sichuan and Shanghai in China for Orica Philippines in Limay, Bataan; Nestle Philippines Inc. in Cabuyao, Laguna; and Manila World Transport, Inc. in Metro Manila.

The NYK Line is also considering establishing a Subic-Singapore route.

Earlier, the SBMA said that there is a proposal for a Shanghai-Subic route that will open ports in China on a more direct basis instead of passing through Kaohsiung.

With these developments, the SBMA hopes the cargo volume of Subic’s container port will grow from 38,000 TEUs last year to more than 70,000 TEUs this year.

In preparation for the expected increase of traffic flow in Subic Bay Freeport, the SBMA recently hosted a Traffic Safety Forum, which aimed to find ways to prevent traffic build-up along the main route taken by cargo trucks.

Meanwhile, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian urged the government yesterday to order the Bureau of Customs and importers to use the ports in Batangas City and Subic permanently.

He said a recent World Bank report cited the truck ban imposed by the city government of Manila as a factor that made doing business in the country more difficult.

“In the Philippines, trading across borders became more difficult because of a new city ordinance restricting truck traffic in Manila,” he quoted the report as saying.

The country dropped to 95th from 86th among 189 economies surveyed in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 report.

Gatchalian said the National Economic and Development Authority has noted a 27-percent fall in the value of imported capital goods last June to $1 billion from $1.4 billion in the same period last year as a result of the port congestion.

“Capital goods such as machinery and heavy equipment are vital as they make local firms more globally competitive. Delays in their arrival and release in turn affected the capability of economic zone firms to meet targets, causing clients to cancel orders,” he said.

He suggested that the concerned authorities focus on developing the Batangas and Subic ports to make them more attractive for importers.

“Instead of making the Batangas and Subic ports only as extensions of the Port of Manila, why not develop them and use them for good? This way the port and traffic congestion is not only solved but also the use of these big ports in Batangas City and Subic is maximized. We are wasting the taxpayers’ money if we leave the two ports idle,” he said.

He pointed out that the bulk or more than half of the goods arriving at the Port of Manila is destined for Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon).

He estimated that if these goods were diverted to the Batangas City port, congestion in Manila port would have been eased by at least 50 percent.

He also said incentives could be offered to entice businessmen to use the Batangas and Subic ports and the government should also find out why Calabarzon importers prefer their shipments to arrive and be released at the Manila port instead of Batangas City. – With Jess Diaz



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