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3 port contracts awarded to 2 bidders

  • The joint venture of Harbour Centre Port Holdings, Inc. and Z.C. Integrated bagged the contract for the ports of Nasipit in Agusan del Norte and Matnog in Sorsorgon
  • HCPHI alone won the contract for the port of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental
  • The Matnog port contract has a proposed concession fee of P1 billion, while Nasipit port’s contract is valued at P906 million; Pulupandan port is worth P571 million

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has awarded the 15-year concession contracts for the port terminal management of Nasipit in Agusan del Norte and Matnog in Sorsorgon to the joint venture (JV) of Harbour Centre Port Holdings, Inc. (HCPHI) and Z.C. Integrated Port Services, Inc.

The contract for a third port, the port of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental, was awarded to HCPHI alone.

Based on notices of award available on PPA’s website, the Matnog port contract has a proposed concession fee of P1 billion, while the Nasipit port contract is worth P906 million and Pulupandan port, P571 million.

The contract bidding was conducted pursuant to the Port Terminal Management Regulatory Framework (PTMRF), PPA’s new guidelines for awarding terminal contracts.

PTMRF, embodied under PPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 03-2016 issued in 2016, seeks to provide higher quality of port services by promoting greater private sector participation.

Under AO 03-2016, investments in ports are to be categorized into six tiers, ranging from a fully private concession to a fully PPA-managed port, to makes it easier to determine the investment arrangements of a port. PPA since last year has been bidding out port terminal management contracts for Tier 3 ports.

Nasipit, Matnog, and Pulupandan ports are all under Tier 3, which means PPA handles the physical undersea and landside infrastructure (capital investment, wharves, piers, reclamation, dredging) while the contractor invests on above ground fixtures and semi-fixtures and mobile handling equipment (e.g. passenger terminal building, cranes, forklifts, trucks).

The Nasipit and Matnogport contract covers the management and operation of cargo-handling, passenger, roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro), and other port-related services at the port.

READ: PPA seeks Matnog, Nasipit port operators

The concession contract for Pulupandan covers the management and operation of cargo-handling, Ro-Ro, and other port-related services.

READ: PPA seeks bids for Pulupandan port operation

Nasipit is the base port in Agusan del Norte, handling domestic cargoes, Ro-Ro, and passengers. It was one of the six initial ports earlier identified by PPA to be bid out under its PTMRF. PPA last August said it has ongoing projects in the CARAGA region, which include Nasipit port.

Matnog port is a jump-off port from Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao and handles Ro-Ro vessels and services passengers. The port suffers from perennial congestion and truck queuing, especially during the holidays when passengers flock the terminal.

The issue of “fixing” and corruption at Matnog port has also beset the terminal and compounded cargo truck queuing, particularly on roads leading to the terminal. Port and maritime agencies last May said measures were laid out to address such issues, particularly on hampered shipping operations at the port caused by congestion and truck queuing.

PPA has opened two additional Ro-Ro ramps, increasing Matnog port’s Ro-Ro ramps to eight, to address the lack of infrastructure and increase port safety.

Pulupandan port is a small port that handles domestic cargoes. In the first half of 2021, the port handled 15 ships and 8,213 metric tons of cargoes.

Aside from the three ports, the JV had also earlier won the contracts for the ports of Iligan, Ozamiz, Zamboanga and Tacloban.

Prudential Customs Brokerage Services, Inc. (PCBSI), meanwhile, won the contracts for the ports of Ormoc, Puerto Princesa, Calapan, Legazpi and Tabaco.

PPA also earlier bid out the port terminal management contracts for the Fort San Pedro port and Surigao baseport. PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago early last March said they were privatizing operations of ports managed by PPA and are looking to looking to bid out at least 10 more contracts before the end of the current administration.

The Philippine Inter-island Shipping Association, in a position paper dated December 6 and submitted to the Lower House Committee on Transportation, raised its concern that only two companies—the JV of HCPHI and Z.C. Integrated and PCBSI—have been dominating the biddings for PTMRF port contracts. – Roumina Pablo

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