Home » Breaking News, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Poor North Port facilities disappoint PH carriers

The skyline of Manila as seen from the top of a ship docked at the Manila North Harbor. Photo from Matikas 0805.

PHILIPPINE shipping lines continue to endure poor facilities at the North Port—formerly North Harbor—18 months after Manila North Harbour Port, Inc. (MNHPI) took over the operation and management of the facility.

Sulficio Tagud, Jr, who heads the Philippine Interisland Shipping Association/Philippine Liner Shipping Association, said most shipping lines are disappointed with the port’s current condition. Tagud is CEO of ATS Consolidated, Inc and former chairman of Negros Navigation, companies that operate out of the North Port.

MNHPI, a joint venture between Harbour Centre Port Terminals, Inc and San Miguel Corp, had promised significant changes at the facility on the first year of its contract with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

“There has been very little improvement at North Port,” Tagud said in a recent interview. “There are many projects but these are still in the drawing board. Even the promised dredging is not yet finished.”

He added, “Physical improvement is really not there yet.”

MNHPI is preparing to implement the modified detailed development design for North Port recently approved by the PPA Board.

The Board has agreed to extend completion of the port’s Phase 1 project, which only covers Terminal 1 or the provision on the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB). Instead of two PTBs to be located in Slips 5 and 13 of the North Port, PPA also collapsed the development into only one PTB to be situated from Piers 4 to 6.

PPA set November 2013 as the new completion date for the PTB, eight months later than the original target of April 2013.

MNHPI has committed P14.5 billion to modernize North Port, including reconfiguring existing ports, expanding operational area from 52 hectares to 70 hectares, and improving other operational facilities.

Phase I of the project will be implemented over a period of six years. The first year of the contract requires completion of the crane rail for two load-on load-off berths at Terminal 1 and pavement/concreting of container yards. After completion of the crane rail, MNHPI will have to procure two shore cranes and support equipment.

So far, the joint venture has invested about P1 billion on the project, pf which P650 million was supplied by Harbour Centre and P350 million by San Miguel for the purchase of equipment.

Another P1 billion was infused partly for the interim passenger terminal and container terminals, which are part of the project’s phase 1.

This year, MNHPI expects to handle 780,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, up from last year’s 630,000 TEUs. Capacity is up to 1.5 million TEUs.

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