Home » Maritime » Modular ro-ro ports project pushed

BUSINESS groups as well as the province of Albay are pushing the installation of modular roll on-roll off (ro-ro) ports despite controversies related to the project.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) along with Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the installation of more ro-ro ports will result in lower transport cost and faster transit for cargoes and passengers.

PCCI and ECOP issued a joint resolution supporting the proposed modular ports.

“Ro-ro has spared companies the inventory and warehousing costs. This illustrates why businesses have clamored for more Ro-Ro ports for two decades, to cut transport and distance costs,” PCCI chair Edgardo Lacson said in a statement.

“We talk of globalization and the need to compete but our infrastructure restricts our over 21,000 members and their businesses from accessing major hubs in the country and foreign markets,” ECOP chairman Miguel Varela, for his part, added.

“Ro-Ro allows for the expedient and frequent delivery of fresh goods,” he said, enabling market expansion.

Salceda, on the other hand, has written a letter to President Benigno Aquino III, explaining that the Bicol region needs 15 modular ports. He said among areas with potential for hosting such ports are Bacacay, Albay; Mercedes, Camarines Norte; Casiguran, Sorsogon; and Ticao Island, Masbate.

He said the installation of the modular ports will also spur tourism investment and create livelihood opportunities.

A review committee formed by former Transport Secretary Jose de Jesus earlier recommended that the ro-ro ports project be cancelled due to supposed onerous provisions in the P11-billion contract. As a result, the Aquino government wants the contract renegotiated.

Dubbed GMA or Greater Maritime Access ports, the project was a key initiative of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration. It involves installation of 72 French-designed modular ro-ro ports. Paris-based BNP Paribas and Calyon Credit Agricole CIB extended $218 million in loans to the Department of Transportation and Communications for the project.

Contractor French consortium Eiffel Matiere is threatening to file a complaint against the government with international arbitration courts if the deal is scuttled.

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