Batangas Container Terminal (BCT) can now handle 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually, higher than the previous 330,000 TEUs each year, following the inauguration of its second berth and instalment of additional equipment.
The South Luzon hub’s berth has been expanded by an additional 230 meters and now spans 600 meters with a draft of 13 meters, according to its operator Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI).
ATI also acquired additional two new quay cranes and four rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, increasing the port’s fleet to four quay cranes and eight RTGs. Complementary equipment was likewise acquired, including 26 internal transfer vehicles, and four units of additional container stacking equipment.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, in a speech during the inauguration, said the terminal’s expansion “will open an alternative gateway for the country’s rapidly growing trade with countries in the region, and ease Manila’s port congestion that has long been the woe of investors.”
Apart from Dominguez, the inauguration was attended by DP World group chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, DP World global security head Nasser Abdulla, Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Philippine Economic Zone Authority director general Charito Plaza, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago, ATI chairman Andrew Hoad, ATI executive vice president William Khoury and ATI president Eusebio Tanco.
ATI has spent P2.5 billion for the expansion, carried out in response to the growth of Calabarzon industries and in support of government’s efforts to decongest Metro Manila roads. The expansion is part of ATI’s commitments in its concession contract with the PPA.
BCT since 2014 has been handling higher cargo volumes. In 2018, it handled nearly 250,000 TEUs, up 25% compared to the previous year. It currently services 11 weekly calls deployed by major shipping lines.
ATI will also break ground for its new passenger terminal, expected to be operational by 2021, in the next few months. ATI has also recently opened a new five-hectare empty container depot in Calamba, Laguna that can cater to the needs of both Batangas and Manila ports.
Last year, ATI also inaugurated its new multilevel car storage facility, which increased Batangas port’s capacity, enabling it to handle 5,400 completely built vehicles. – Text and photo by Roumina Pablo