THE management and allocation of berths and shifting of vessels inside the Manila North Harbor and its inner breakwater is now the responsibility of Manila North Harbour Port Inc. (MNHPI), the port operator and concessionaire.
The turnover of responsibility, effective Sept 24, is embodied in the revised berthing guidelines for the North Port issued by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in anticipation of more domestic vessels arriving at the port as the passenger terminal goes into full commercial operations soon.
“We need to make this initiative with the North Port set to go into full commercial operations as the construction of its new passenger terminal building is almost complete,” PPA general manager Juan C. Sta. Ana said.
In a text message to PortCalls, MNHPI chief executive officer Richard Barclay said the port operator is “comfortable with the revised berthing schedules.”
He said MNHPI is discussing with PPA and the shipping lines the process for implementing the new guidelines.
“We are now awaiting confirmation from PPA NH (North Harbor) following which we will confirm to all port users,” Barclay said.
The PPA said the MNHPI’s assumption of berth management and allocation and vessel shifting authority is pursuant to the port operator’s contract with the regulator.
On the other hand, the PPA will be responsible for berths in the anchorage areas outside the North Harbor. Issuance of entry and departure clearances for vessels will continue to be the job of the PPA.
MNHPI, however, should ensure that prior clearance from the authority has been secured before allowing a vessel to depart for her next port of call.
The revised guidelines are embodied in PPA Administrative Order No. 02-2013 issued by PPA general manager Juan Sta. Ana, who said the new rules will guarantee that the berths will be used efficiently.
Among the major changes in the revised guidelines are:
- Idle vessels will no longer be allowed to sit on the berths. Only vessels that will load or unload cargo and passengers will be allowed to use the berths.
- Aside from the normal movement of vessels, berthing priorities will be given to ships in distress or in emergency situations where life or property is endangered; vessels carrying perishable goods or livestock for unloading without delay, and other seacraft when public interest so requires.
“As a general rule, the common-user and the ‘first come-first served’ policies in determining the berthing priorities of vessels shall be followed,” Sta. Ana explained.
The guidelines cover all vessels calling at North Port from Isla Puting Bato, Piers 2 to 16, the marine slipway and the anchorage areas of the North Harbor.
In June, MNHPI soft-launched its spanking new port terminal building in a bid to upgrade the North Harbor facilities to world standards. The terminal can sit about 1,800 passengers at any time. It boasts of three X-ray scanning machines as well as a dedicated area for checked-in baggage.
MNHPI likewise extended the berth near the new terminal building by 70 meters to enable the facility to handle five vessels at any one time.