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Subic's New Container Terminal 1 operated by Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. Photo courtesy of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Subic’s New Container Terminal 1 operated by Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. Photo courtesy of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

There is growing interest in the use of Subic container port following the imposition of the Manila truck ban in late February that led to massive delays in cargo deliveries.

More than 100 Philippine Exporters Confederation members from Region III (Central Luzon) visited the port, three hours north of the capital Manila, on March 27 to take a closer look at the facility, according to PortCalls sources.

International shipping lines also seem to be paying the port more attention.

Recently Japanese shipping line NYK entered into a co-loading arrangement with APL, while Bengal Tiger Line will soon be co-loading with Wan Hai.

Sources said the number of slots under the co-loading arrangements is not yet fixed with NYK and Bengal Tiger still testing the waters.

APL, the container line of Singapore-based NOL, and Wan Hai, a Taiwanese regional carrier, are the two carriers regularly calling Subic port.

A source from Bengal Tiger told PortCalls it is working on a co-loading agreement with Wan Hai on the Subic-Kaohsiung sector.


Higher box throughput

While all of this is going on, Subic’s New Container Terminal 1 (NCT1), operated by Subic Bay International Terminal Corp (SBITC), is showing strong growth in throughput.

From January to the third week of March 2014, NCT1 recorded a 17.63% uptick in volume to 8,448 twenty equivalent units (TEUs) from 7,181.75 TEUs year-on-year, based on data provided by SBITC.

For the full year 2013, NCT1 handled a total of 34,847 twenty equivalent units (TEUs) with an average monthly volume of 2,903.92 TEUs.

According to an earlier Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority report, containerized cargo (both for NCT 1 and the other Subic terminal, NCT 2) rose 3.2% to 37,460 TEUs in 2013 from 36,304 TEUs in 2012. Non-containerized cargo increased 8.6% from 2.21 million metric tons from 2.4 mmt in 2012.

NCT1 and NCT 2 each have an annual capacity of 600,000 TEUs.


Savings for Clark shippers

Meantime, SBITC said Subic port offers big savings for users.

Locators and shippers from nearby Clark freeport in Pampanga, for instance, can save as much as 53% in arrastre charges if they use the facility.

In a presentation, SBITC said for import cargoes, the locators can save up to 52.93% or P1,967.40 per TEU and 53.05% or P4,536.64 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU) in arrastre charges versus the cost of similar services in Manila ports.

SBITC’s arrastre charges for import cargoes are P1,749.60  per TEU and P4,014.36 per FEU compared with the P3,717 per TEU and P8,551 per FEU rates in Manila.

For wharfage of import cargo boxes, a TEU saves 3.57% or P20.77 while an FEU also saves 3.57% or P31.17. Wharfage of each 40-footer export container in Manila is P437.98 and in Subic, P422.33.

For exports, SBITC’s P1,428.84 per TEU and P3,280.50 per FEU saves 53.05% or P1,614.16 per TEU and 53.06% or P3,708.50 per FEU on arrastre, compared with Manila’s P3,043 per TEU and P6,989 per FEU.

SBITC also offers 10 days of extra free storage, five each for imports and exports, compared with Manila’s five days of free storage.

The port operator also said Manila adds 12% value-added tax on all its charges while SBITC does not. –– Roumina M. Pablo

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