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MCC Transport COO Clive van Onselen

INTRA-ASIAN carrier MCC Transport is looking at the Philippines as a transshipment hub, but says the government needs to improve key aspects of doing business at local ports, a company executive said.

MCC Transport chief operating officer Clive van Onselen said the Philippines, being centrally located in the region, has a “lot of opportunities to be able to link services” from Indonesia to Japan, China, Korea and Russia.

In a presentation at the recent Philippines Ports Development Summit 2013, Van Onselen said the use of the Philippines as a transshipment hub has been one of the company’s long-standing goals and is “a potential we would really like to develop”.

He said MCC, a feeder unit of Danish container shipping giant Maersk Line, had discussed the prospect with Manila International Container Terminal’s general manager Christian Gonzalez.

Van Onselen enumerated a number of things shipping lines like MCC would like the Philippine government to address to improve the regulatory environment, infrastructure and efficiency at local ports.

He said it is “encouraging” that the country is looking at deregulating policies and opening up through the proposed amendment of the cabotage law.

The executive said arrastre in the country’s “very high and can certainly be reduced.”

Van Onselen said MCC is targeting the use of bigger feeder vessels in the Philippines, but noted this would need appropriate berths.

He said berths should be 10-12 meters deep, citing that Manila falls within this range and that Subic has an even deeper berth. He said Batangas also has potential but Cebu, which has a big market, is draft restricted.

Wharves should also be well-maintained and the right equipment in place, van Onselen said.

Customs involvement should likewise be “limited and streamlined”.

Faster truck turnaround is also needed to create efficiency. Van Onselen said MCC’s Australian customers in Manila have a 24-hour truck turnaround, which is “extremely costly”.

Meanwhile, van Onselen said the Philippines is not ready to handle vessels like Maersk Line’s Triple-E because the market is not big enough for such megaships.

Photo from www.mcc.com.sg

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