Home » Ports/Terminals » Japan finds Batangas port use worrisome

THE Japanese government has expressed concern over Batangas Port’s apparent underutilization.

Batangas Port Phase II was constructed using a P5.5-billion loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. But since opening in 2005, the container terminal has been underused. Even with additional cargo handling facilities and the entry of private operator Asian Terminals, Inc (ATI), it has made few inroads in attracting international traffic.

“Japan is really worried about the under utilization of Batangas Port,” Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) commercial services department manager Emma Susara said. “But we believe ATI is making headway in terms of marketing. As for PPA, we will continue to put in our contribution to make the port more attractive to the users.”

The Japanese government, she added, has expressed willingness to set up meetings with Japan-flag carriers that already service other Philippine ports.

PPA already offers incentives to both shippers and carriers calling at Batangas. In addition, ATI has been going on road shows, particularly around the Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon or Calabarzon area, to market the port.

Local carriers Lorenzo Shipping and Aboitiz Transport (using 2Go vessels) currently call at Batangas. Mariana Express earlier offered a twice-a-month service but later pulled out due to low volumes.

ATI has a 25-year contract to operate Batangas Port Phase II, with the company paying $125 million to the government during that period.

The Batangas container terminal can handle as much as 400,000 twenty-foot equivalent units a year.

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