Taiwanese carrier Evergreen Marine Corporation is launching a new weekly direct service next week that will connect Subic port with Taiwan and South Korea, expected to stimulate growth in the northern and central parts of Luzon.
Evergreen, Taiwan’s largest shipping company, is launching its Korea-Taiwan-Philippines (KTP) service in Subic, adding New Container Terminals (NCT) 1 and 2 to its port rotation.
Including Subic in the service rotation is expected to boost the growing markets in northern and central Luzon, which stand to benefit from the direct trade link to Korea and Taiwan, port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) said in a statement. It added that aside from carrying exports and imports, the service also offers transshipment for overseas cargo.
“We congratulate Evergreen for the launch of the new service. We also thank Evergreen for recognizing Subic as a key gateway in the Philippines. Our inclusion in the KTP service is a clear indication that the markets of central and northern Luzon are growing, and will benefit from another large global carrier participating in this growth,” said Roberto Locsin, general manager of ICTSI subsidiary Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), which operates NCTs 1 and 2.
The KTP weekly service follows the following port rotation: Incheon and Kwangyang, South Korea; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Batangas, Manila, and Subic, Philippines; and back to Kaohsiung. The first Evergreen vessel in the KTP service is scheduled to make its maiden call to Subic on April 19.
In December 2016, the Taiwan Maritime and Port Bureau (TMPB) expressed interest in partnering with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to increase container transshipment traffic between the ports of Taiwan and Subic. TMPB raised the possibility of a partnership during a recent visit to Subic port, the visit stemming from SBMA’s participation in the 22nd Philippines-Taiwan Joint Economic Conference last October in Taipei.
The Philippines is capitalizing on Taiwan’s “Southbound Policy” which aims to strengthen trade and investment relationship between Taiwan and countries south of its territory. This “paradigm shift” opens the doors for the Philippines to capture businesses in Taiwan’s high-value manufacturing, innovation, logistics and transshipment, renewable energy, e-commerce, and financing sectors.
SBMA has asked the TMPB to encourage industries in Taichung, Taiwan, to utilize Subic as the regional gateway.
Taiwan is the Philippines’ sixth biggest trading partner, facilitating around US$7.85 billion worth of bilateral trade in 2015. Currently, Subic Bay Freeport Zone hosts 52 Taiwanese companies with $500 million worth of investments and over 12,000 jobs generated.
Meanwhile, South Korea was the Philippines’ fifth largest trading partner in 2015. In 2014, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $13.4 billion, a number that is expected to reach $20 billion over the next five years. This projection has triggered an increase in Korean investments in the Philippines in recent years, with construction, cosmetics, and food companies among those looking to invest.
Recently, SBMA urged local government units around the Subic Freeport Zone to start developing industrial parks to accommodate the growing number of investors.
“All of these developments are inter-connected. We’re now seeing the results of our campaign to promote Subic. We are doubling our efforts to sustain the current momentum to ensure we don’t lose on the gains we have achieved in putting Subic at the center of economic growth in central and northern Luzon. We are ready for more port activities and a vibrant Freeport,” Locsin said.