Home » Ports/Terminals » Defer Manila ports expansion for Subic, Batangas to grow, Subic exec tells gov’t

SUBIC Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will seek a deferment of Manila ports’ expansion plans to give Subic and Batangas ports, north and south of Manila, respectively, an opening to develop their volumes.

“What we need is to rationalize the national policy by suspending the development and expansion of Manila ports in order to give Subic and Batangas a chance to get enough cargo and vessel traffic,” SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said in a roundtable discussion with media last week.

“This is the only way we can entice direct callers to come to Subic and cargo owners to use the Freeport otherwise facilities would remain underutilized. We can’t incentivize shipping lines just to come to Subic as operating costs would still be higher” since cargo volumes are not there, he added.

Expansion in Manila ports may also not be a good proposition at this point because it will worsen traffic in and around the area, Arreza pointed out. “Even with existing capacity, vehicular traffic outside the port is already heavy and expected to get heavier once new capacity goes online since road developments are not at par with developments being introduced at the port.”

He added, “Based on our calculations of the current capacity of Manila ports, including new capacity being introduced by the terminals, it will take at least 10 years before the terminals reach full capacity”, stressing the point that expansion should not be a priority.

The Manila International Container Terminal has a capacity of about 1.9 million twenty-equivalent units. Another 60,000 TEUs will come on stream following completion of Berth 6.

South Harbor can handle 950,000 TEUs. In two years, this will grow to 1.4 million TEUs.

SBMA’s New Container Terminals 1 and 2, on the other hand, have a capacity of 600,000 TEUs but cargo volume is only around 35,000 TEUs, virtually the same since the last decade. The volume is not even half the estimated 80,000 TEUs for the entire Central Luzon area as majority of goods there still pass through Manila ports.

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