Home » Customs & Trade » Conflicting provisions may stump Batangas privatization program

THE cargo-handling provisions under phase I of the Batangas Port project may hinder the second phase of the port’s planned privatization this year.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) assistant general manager for engineering Claro Maranan said that while formulating the Terms of Reference (TOR) for phase II, they found some provisions that could delay the privatization process.

“ATI (Asian Terminals, Inc.) has a container-handling provision for phase 1 of the Batangas Port development project, which would (cause a) conflict when the government bids (out) phase II,” Maranan said.

Under the port’s second phase privatization program, the winning bidder may also offer container-handling services.

“We may have to ask them (ATI) to delete that provision to push through with privatization of Phase II,” Maranan said.

Phase I of the Batangas Port development, mainly geared for domestic operations, started in 1992 and was completed in 1997, at a cost of P1.21 billion. It includes ferry, roll on-roll off, and general cargo services. Phase II consists of dredging and reclamation, construction of two foreign container cargo berths, reconstruction of the general cargo berth at the Phase 1 area with provision for stacking yard, container freight station, terminal building, utilities, access road, and other support facilities. It is geared for international operations in order for the terminal to become an alternative port to Manila.

Originally, the PPA wanted to bid out the cargo-handling contract for the Batangas Port before the election ban sets in end-March. The Commission on Elections will start the ban on public work construction on March 30 to end on May 14, election day.

Maranan said PPA may still open the bidding to interested parties within the month.

PPA has already been forced to extend ATI’s permit to operate for at least a year as a result of the state firm’s inability to roll out the necessary equipment to lure more shipping firms to dock at the terminal.

ATI’s temporary permit at the Batangas Port should have ended last September.

The expanded Batangas Port was commissioned into service September 2, 2005.

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