Manila-based port operator and developer Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) says it will acquire four blocks of the Manila waterfront from the government this year for additional yard space as it aims to get the South Harbor’s Pier 3 crane extension on stream before the year ends.
ATI’s bigger rival, International Container Terminal Services Inc., said it will continue to fill the needs of port users as it enhances its ports’ capabilities and systems for future growth.
Ranking executives of the two port operators outlined their port improvement programs at the recent United Portusers Confederation (UPC) inaugural ball at the Manila Diamond Hotel.
The Pier 3 project is part of ATI’s capacity enhancement under the US$300-million South Harbor development plan to strengthen its market position, ATI assistant vice president Ian Baking said in a presentation.
“ATI is strengthening its position, enhancing its operations to ensure the Philippines” gateway ports are ready and capable of handling growth ahead,” Baking said.
The South Harbor development plan involves capacity enhancement, including the Pier 3 extension that is on track for completion this year, expansion of yard space, equipment fleet improvements and IT enhancement.
Baking said ATI has budgeted a capital expenditure of P4.2 billion for investment to improve the port over the next three years.
Baking said that with the acquisition of Blocks 143, 144, 145 and 146 from the Philippine Ports Authority this year, ATI would also be able to provide space to stack up an additional 1,960 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of empty containers at Pier 3 by 2014.
He said the port’s equipment fleet improvements include the acquisition of two rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, one empty container handler, a twin-lead spreader, and six tractors, as well as the retrofit of three RTGs.
ATI will be adding one quayside crane and two RTGs by next year,” Baking said.
For the port’s IT enhancements, Baking said e-payment is now available for port users to settle fees for various port services through Metrobank, Banco De Oro and Security Bank.
The port operator has also set up a broadband infrastructure at South Harbor for more efficient delivery of port services.
Col Edgardo Abesamis, retired executive vice president of ICTSI who pitched in for Christian Gonzalez, ICTSI vice president and Manila International Container Terminal general manager, said ICTSI is undertaking measures to improve the lot of port users doing business with the MICT.
Abesamis, currently chairman of the Mindanao International Container Terminal Services Inc. and director of various ICTSI units, cited the $200-million investment in Berth 6 that lengthened its pier by 300 meters.
He also said construction of a truck holding area within the hub will be completed soon to ease congestion at the port and so that trucks need not park on the streets outside the terminal.
However, he noted that the Philippines is still far behind its neighbors China and Vietnam in terms of export volume handled by its ports.
“In the present state of the Philippine economy, the volume that goes through Manila is mostly inbound,” he said. “We still don’t have the kind of industry in China or Vietnam that is geared for exports.”
The UPC organized the April 5 event to present its set of officers and board directors. The new group comprises various national transport associations.
The group is led by chairman Juan Simborio of Customs Checkers Association, president Angelito Colona of Metro Manila Chamber of Commerce and Industry, executive vice-president Jaime Roxas of Federation of Forwarders Associations in the Philippines, VP for internal affairs Alexander Ong of Association of Off-dock CFS Operators of the Philippines (ACOP), VP for external affairs Irene Manguiat Tan of the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA), auditor Nelson Mendoza of PISFA, public relations officer Michael Aquino of Aircargo Forwarders of the Philipiines, Inc, treasurer Atty. Gedeon Soriano of Association of Transhipment Operators of the Philippines, secretary general Praxedes Yu Tan of ACOP, and directors Edgardo Lacson of Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines, and Roberto Amores of Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc.
The event was keynoted by Atty. Juan Sta. Ana, general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority. Atty. Nicasio Conti, OIC and administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority, inducted new UPC members Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines and Procurement and Sourcing Institute of Asia.