“A lot” of Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) locators are now eyeing Batangas port as an alternative to Manila port due to the truck ban imposed by the city of Manila, according to a PEZA official.
PEZA deputy director general for finance and administration Porfirio Ll. Yusingco said locators are heavy truck users and have recently complained of fewer truck trips and disruptions in production and export schedules.
Yusingco told PortCalls at the sidelines of the Trucking Summit held last week between the Department of Labor and Employment and the Aduana Business Club, Inc that the shift to Batangas port is an option PEZA has been advocating for the last three years.
PEZA has earlier extended the 50% discount on PEZA fees as an incentive to locators that will use Batangas Port.
“But we’re still trying to solve the shipping side of it,” Yusingco said. “The shipping industry is not regulated so we don’t have any hold on them (carriers).”
Shippers have complained there’s not enough shipping lines calling Batangas; shipping lines on the other hand claim cargo volume is not enough to justify Batangas calls.
“We’re getting everybody to help us,” Yusingco said, referring to the Philippine Ports Authority, Bureau of Customs and other stakeholders.
No one’s leaving just yet
PEZA has also dismissed as “exaggeration” rumors that some locators have moved to other countries as a result of Manila’s truck ban, but worries that such a scenario may become a reality.
“That’s an exaggeration. As of today, we have no reports of our companies closing, leaving,” Yusingco said.
“Besides the companies in the economic zones are manufacturing companies… it’s not that easy to pack up and go.”
He said, however, that “we are not at that stage, but we worry we might get to that stage so we have to do something about this [truck ban] soon.”
Earlier, PEZA said the truck ban would hurt ecozones within the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) area. Such enterprises account for about 80% of the total exports registered with PEZA worth an estimated $77 million a day, generated by some 800 companies that employ more than 200,000 workers.
Yusingco said PEZA does not have actual reports yet as companies within the zone are still assessing their losses and may be able to report in a month or two. ––Roumina M. Pablo
Photo from www.asianterminals.com.ph