ATI earmarks P8B to upgrade Manila, Batangas ports in 2018

Asian Terminals Inc’s new executive vice president William Khoury said he is optimistic cargo volumes will continue to increase on the back of the Philippines’ high economic growth. Photo courtesy of ATI.
Asian Terminals Inc’s new executive vice president William Khoury said he is optimistic cargo volumes will continue to increase on the back of the Philippines’ high economic growth. Photo courtesy of ATI.

Port operator Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) will spend at least P8 billion this year to further expand capacity and improve operations at its Manila and Batangas terminals, chairman Andrew Hoad said at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on April 26.

The spending is aligned with ATI’s investment commitment with the Philippine Ports Authority, Hoad said.

William Khoury, ATI’s new executive vice president, in an interview with PortCalls on the sidelines of the event, said the budget will be used for ongoing as well as new projects.

For Manila South Harbor, ATI is developing an additional yard to increase the yard’s capacity by 20% to 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 2019 from its current annual capacity of 1.25 million TEUs.

In 2017, Manila South Harbor handled over 1.1 million TEUs.

The port operator is also reconditioning Pier 9 to enable it to handle container vessels.

The terminal expansion will be complemented by two new ship-to-shore cranes that have recently arrived and are scheduled for commissioning at Pier 3 by end-April.

Batangas terminal

For Batangas Container Terminal (BCT), ATI is currently building 300 meters of quay, which Khoury said is “basically a second berth for the facility.”

ATI also expects two new quay cranes to arrive at BCT by September this year, which will be complemented by four new rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes. With the new acquisitions, ATI will soon have four quay cranes and eight RTGs. Khoury said these equipment investments will almost double BCT’s annual capacity from 350,000 TEUs to more than 600,000 TEUs.

By July, ATI will have completed its five-story car storage facility that can hold 5,000 vehicles, increasing the current capacity of 7,000 vehicles to 12,000 vehicles. The facility is being built to respond to the growth in volume of imported vehicles in the country, with Batangas port having handled nearly 200,000 completely built units in 2017.

READ: P1.3B car storage facility at Batangas port breaks ground

ATI this year will also start the development of a passenger terminal in Batangas to increase the current seating capacity of 2,200 to 3,000 at a single time. Khoury said the new facility is in anticipation of continuous growth in the number of passengers traveling through Batangas port.

In 2017, Batangas port serviced close to 4 million outbound passengers, 5% higher than 2016’s volume.

It will take around two years to complete the construction of the passenger terminal, Khoury noted.

IT improvements

Part of ATI’s upgrades this year is the adoption of a GPS system by September for its yard at Manila South Harbor to track container movements.

ATI is likewise upgrading its terminal operating system (TOS) to keep it in line with the system of global port operator DP World, which owns stakes in ATI.

Deployment of the new TOS is scheduled by the third quarter of this year. Khoury said that aside from these activities, ATI will continue to invest in technology to improve operations.

Khoury said ATI is optimistic that volumes will continue to increase this year as the country’s economy improves and local consumption remains high.

Old hand

Asked what new things he’ll bring to the table, Khoury said: “Obviously, Andrew (Hoad) has improved the facility a lot together with the current team so I plan to build on everything he has done.” Khoury took Hoad’s place in mid-March.

Khoury noted, however, that while new to ATI, he has been in the region for years. Prior to his appointment at ATI, Khoury was a vice president/director at PT Terminal Petikemas Surabaya in Indonesia; chief executive officer of DP World-Saigon Premier Container Terminal-Vietnam from 2010 to 2014; and operations director of DP World South Korea from 2009 to 2010.

He likewsie held various management positions at DP World Caucedo, Dominican Republic from 2003 to 2009, and CSX World Terminals from 2001 to 2003. – Roumina Pablo