Depot operator Pacific Roadlink Logistics, Inc. (PRLI) is eyeing expansion into more areas, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, next year as it foresees continued economic growth for the country in the coming years.
“We are looking at continuous growth in the imports industry, which also equates to more empty containers for the yard,” PRLI general manager Gilbert Singson said on the sidelines of the company’s blessing on November 9 of four new side lifters worth P60 million.
Pacific Roadlink is a joint venture established in 2014 by the Magsaysay Group and depot and truck operator Interpacific Highway Transportation Corp. The operator currently has five depots: one in Bulacan, two in Malabon, one in Malvar, Batangas, and one in Cabuyao. All depots cater to international shipping lines, except the Cabuyao depot which currently handles domestic empty containers.
Singson said plans to expand next year are fuelled by the growth of imports, the consumption-driven national economy, the requirements of clients, and expectations of future growth in volumes of empty containers.
“The target is to support foreign shipping lines and at the same time we’ll maintain our relationship with the domestic lines,” Singson said, noting that local carriers NMC Container Lines, Inc. and Lorenzo Shipping Corp. are under the Magsaysay Group.
Singson said they are eyeing areas where Magsaysay’s liner groups are already entrenched, which are Davao, Iloilo, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos.
Currently, PRLI owns 20 hectares of land capable of handling 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. It also owns a fleet of 200 trucks and container-handling equipment. Its recently acquired four side lifters have been deployed to one of its Malabon depots. Singson said the four is the first of several batches; the next ones will be sent to other depots.
Growth for PRLI has been fast, with volumes of empty containers handled in 2016 so far having increased up to 70% over last year. With the new four side lifters, Singson said they hope to process more boxes and achieve 100% growth for this year.
In terms of revenue, Singson said the past couple of years have been good for both its trucking and container yard businesses.
For 2017, PRLI targets installing GPS systems and CCTV cameras to enhance security and safety at its yards. The company also eyes adding 100 trucks yearly and acquiring additional container-handling equipment to meet customer requirements and maintain its level of service. Also slated for next year is the completion of the concreting of land at its Malvar depot and the start of concreting and fencing works at its Bulacan depot.
Singson said they intend to put up reefer plugs at their depots should clients require them.
“We want to set the standard in the industry,” Singson said, noting that PRLI was the first to operate their depots 24/7 to complement continuous operations at the ports. He added that PRLI has established a multiple depot system to be able to accept empty containers from any of the liners at any of their container yards. Its trucks can also be used at any of its depots, which Singson noted helps clients with their trucking needs.
Training for drivers
Aside from empty container depots, PRLI has partnered with several individuals to construct the Logistics Training Academy (LTRAC) in Bulacan. The seven-hectare property will house 1.5 kilometers of road track, classrooms, dormitories, and other facilities for the training and certification of drivers and equipment operators.
Singson said that even as they finalize the construction permits, some facilities are already in place and sessions for some PRLI drivers have started. The academy will also be accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
While initially used to train PRLI drivers, LTRAC will eventually be offered to PRLI customers and multinationals that want training for their drivers. The training academy will also be offered to vehicle distributors so they can package the training with the sale of their trucks.
“It’s easy to buy the equipment but putting the proper drivers trained to use these equipment, is a totally different story. We know this for a fact. We have a fleet of 200 trucks. Every day that’s our problem—filling up the seats for these trucks to make sure that they are driven properly, not just with the correct skills but also with the correct values and mindset,” Singson explained.
The academy is expected to open initially for in-house training by the third quarter of 2017, depending on approval of curriculum and permits. – Roumina Pablo