Home » Ports/Terminals » Subic cargo handler case vs SBMA to proceed

THE Office of the Ombudsman has found merit in the case filed by Subic cargo handling firm Amerasia Interna-tional Terminal Services, Inc (Amerasia) against Subic Bay Metropo-litan Authority (SBMA) and its joint venture partner Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc (HCPTI) for the operation of the Naval Supply Depot (NSD).

Respondents were given 10 days to file a counter affidavit after receipt of the notice of the case.

In an affidavit filed on April 27, 2010 at the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, Amerasia said it was compelled to file criminal and administrative charges against SBMA after the latter entered into an agreement granting HCPTI the right to operate NSD.

The arrangement, Amerasia claimed, will displace existing cargo handlers at the freeport since it also effectively grants HCPTI a monopoly on the operation of all usable wharf/ports at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

In an unsolicited offer to SBMA, HCPTI offered to sink in P6 billion into NSD, P3 billion of which will go to improvements, including integration of operations of other bulk and breakbulk operators, and the rest to improving cargo-handling equipment.

HCPTI also offered SBMA variable commitments per metric ton of 20% depending on volume and a minimum guarantee of $500,000 annually with a provision for a yearly increase.

NSD handles the freeport’s breakbulk cargo. It covers Boton Wharf as well as the Alava, Rivera and Bravo piers. SBMA has been trying to privatize the NSD for three years. It is only one of two SBMA ports, the other being the New Container Terminal 2, that has yet to be privatized.

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