Home » Breaking News, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Enough of Manila port development, say supply chain managers

Philippine-based supply chain managers support proposals to stop further development of Manila ports but are against putting a cap on cargo throughput passing through Manila just to boost utilization of alternative ports in Subic Bay and Batangas.

Subic Bay is about 110 kilometers north of the Philippine capital Manila while Batangas is also 110 kilometers but south of Manila.

During the sidelines of recent the Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines (SCMAP) Conference and Exhibit, SCMAP president Enrique Castillo told PortCalls the association believes in the position of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) that there was no longer any need to develop Manila ports.

He said SCMAP members were surprised to learn there were already initial works being done for Berth 7 of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).

“We thought Berth 6 was the last of developments at MICT,” Castillo said.

“If construction is ongoing in preparation for Berth 7, I think we will never get enough traffic for Subic or Batangas,” he said.

There are various proposals from the government and private sectors to decongest Manila ports by diverting cargo to alternative ports in Subic and Batangas, both currently underutilized.

Only less than 10% of Subic’s New Container Terminal (NCT) 1 annual capacity of 300,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) is in use. NCT 2, which has the same capacity as NCT 1, will open this year.

Batangas port is also underutilized with only a handful of callers, including MCC Transport, Asian Marine Transport Corp, and NMC Container Lines.

“We believe the NCC proposal is doable,” Castillo said, adding that diversion of cargo traffic to Subic or Clark will follow in due time.

In order to attract shipping lines to call Subic and Batangas ports, he noted operators of the facilities should be ready to offer incentives and for government to subsidize costs.

The Manila ports, composed of the Manila International Container Port operated by International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI) and South Harbor run by Asian Terminals, Inc (ATI), are facing expansion.

MICT’s Berth 6 just opened for business on July 7. ICTSI is spending close to P135 million for Berth 7’s groundwork and reclamation, targeted for completion by yearend.

ATI has set aside P1.4 billion to modernize South Harbor and expand its capacity to more than 1 million TEUs starting this year.

MICT has a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs.

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