Home » Ports/Terminals » North Harbor to have only one operator – PPA

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has approved the terms of reference for the privatization of Manila North Harbor, giving the entire facility to a single operator and allowing entry of shipping firms in port operations. An official of the PPA said the board approved the terms during its monthly meeting last week. "The (PPA) board thinks that it (single terminal, one operator) is the most feasible because there is already competition from Pier 15 (South Harbor) and Harbour Centre around," he said. Earlier, the plan was to divide the facility into four terminals-two main cargo terminals competing with each other, a passenger terminal, and terminal for trampers. Each of the terminals will have an operator. This time, the official said, the North Harbor will still have those components but will be under a single operator that would market the facilities to other concessionaires. "They could even make the Pier 2 and Pier 4 a tourist area, just like in San Francisco," he said. The board also increased the participation limit for shipping lines to 20% from 5% approved earlier. The official explained that if shipping lines decide to participate in the consortium that would operate the North Harbor, each would be limited to only 20 percent. PPA, however, did not place a limit on the number of shipping lines allowed in a consortium. "If five of them (shipping lines) decide to form a consortium with equal sharing, that would be allowed." PPA earlier wanted to block shipping line owners from operating the port due to fears they may hinder competitor vessels from berthing. The terms will now be given to the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee. PPA first approved in February this year the terms of reference of the privatization, containing a two-operator provision for cargo handling operations. A month later, the PPA was forced to revise the terms after port users, represented by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the two-operator scheme was not viable. It was PCCI’s idea to have a multi-operator scheme in the North Harbor to foster competition in the first place.

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