Home » Breaking News, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Congestion hits Mindanao port; lines seek port expansion

DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES — International shipping lines are clamoring for immediate expansion of Sasa Wharf in Davao port in the island grouping of Mindanao to address the problem of heavy congestion resulting from swelling cargo volume.

Heavy congestion started toward the latter part of last year and has not been addressed up to now, according to local representatives of American President Lines, Maersk Line, and Regional Container Lines. They claim capacity of Sasa Wharf as well as other private ports in the area is not enough to handle increasing export volumes particularly of banana and its by-products, rubber, and other agricultural products.

The lines complained of incurring additional expenses due to the 24- to 30-hour waiting time before vessels are serviced.

“Sasa is really congested right now and (this) is bumping up our operational cost,” representatives of the shipping lines said.

“Based on our estimates, we are incurring at least $15,000 per vessel on anchorage on top of the usual cost impact from delays in delivery of goods when our feeders fail to arrive on time with cargoes scheduled to be loaded onto the mother vessel,” the carriers noted.

“We are forwarding several recommendations which we hope government can consider to reduce our burden at Sasa Wharf.”

The carriers are recommending that the Philippine Ports Authority repair the port’s terminal structural stability to accommodate installation of ship-to-shore quay cranes that would cut vessel turnaround time from the current 48 hours to 24 hours. At the moment, only self-sustaining vessels call at the port.

The lines also want government to dedicate Sasa Wharf to international vessels and to adopt a window-type system for shipping lines to buy docking slot time instead of the current first-come first-serve basis.

Domestic vessels, the lines said, should be transferred from Sasa Wharf to nearby domestic ports.

At the moment, berth utilization at Sasa Wharf is at 90%, with 70% accounted for by mainly banana shipments from Dole, Del Monte, La Panday, Nader Ibrahim, and Davao Central.

Cargo throughput at Davao port has been growing at 7-8% annually since eight years ago.

Last year, Sasa Wharf was expected to have handled 11.254 million metric tons (mmt) and this year, 12.078 mmt.

Photo from http://www.ppasomin.com.ph/ppasomin/pmo_davao.html

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