Cebu International Port (CIP) cargo-handler Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR) is implementing a series of projects to further expand capacity at the port, operated and maintained by the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), in view of the growing volumes handled by the terminal.
For starters, OPASCOR is reconfiguring CIP’s yard to enlarge terminal space, said OPASCOR manager for Legal, Customer Care and IT Department Atty. Annabel Pulvera-Page in a presentation during the 2nd Visayas Shipping Conference 2018 organized jointly by PortCalls and Asia Customs & Trade in Waterfront Airport and Casino Hotel on August 2.
Part of the reconfiguration will see two more blocks added in the yard to increase the current 13 blocks to 15 blocks. This will entail demolishing infrastructure inside the terminal, including fairly new buildings of OPASCOR, to further increase yard capacity.
This project will add 2,052 ground slots at CIP, which will expand the annual capacity by 93,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
To be completed in a year or two, the reconfiguration will also include opening up spaces for repositioning empty containers and for dangerous goods, in keeping with the requirement of stakeholders.
Moreover, OPASCOR is building a finger pier to handle more vessels and cargoes. To be constructed at the northern end of CIP, the pier will be 50 meters wide and 250 meters long, with a total area of 12,500 square meters and a draft of 12 meters.
One side of the pier will accommodate general cargoes, while the other side will be allotted to container vessels. The pier, which will also act as a siltation barrier, will have space for laden boxes and be equipped with quay cranes.
The pier will provide CIP with an additional 95,813 TEUs to expand the current capacity of almost 600,000 TEUs.
Construction starts this month and is scheduled for completion in 12 to 15 months.
Page said that once CIP has been expanded, they foresee the port being “okay for the next 10 to 15 years” even without the planned new Cebu international port in Tayud, Consolacion. The country has already signed a loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of Korea for this port project, seen to help free up the existing seaport in the province and provide a more efficient and reliable transport infrastructure in the Visayas.
Page said improvements are being done at CIP to cope with and anticipate demand in Cebu. It is also to maintain current efficiencies of an average daily dwell time for boxes of eight days and yard utilization of less than 50%.
OPASCOR projects an 8% increase in volume in 2018.
Aside from these improvements, Page said CIP has already improved its one-stop shop to support ease of doing business for shippers and customs brokers, while CPA has already upgraded the lighting system of the port. Both OPASCOR and CPA also conducted dredgings in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
OPASCOR likewise improved its business system, securing ISO certifications last June for the Integrated Management System—covering ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System, ISO 14001:2015 Environment Management System, and OHSAS 18001: 2007 Occupational Health & Safety Management System.
Page said OPASCOR is also working, on the request of shipping lines, to integrate CPA’s IT system into its own terminal operating system (TOS) so as to provide automated and paperless transaction. She said that while OPASCOR no longer requires hard copies, CPA still does.
Page acknowledged that CPA has to enhance its IT system first to integrate with OPASCOR’s TOS, but remarked that the port authority has been very serious in making this happen.
To further improve truck flow, Page said OPASCOR is studying the implementation of a truck booking system at CIP.
She explained that all cities and municipalities surrounding the Cebu baseport have truck bans, leading to trucks arriving at the terminal in packs, mostly before the ban period.
A booking system, Page said, will “really help us” improve traffic flow and truck turnaround in CIP.
“We want the withdrawal to be predictable,” she said, but added that this plan is still under study as “we don’t want to burden the trucking industry” with possible fees coming with the system.
Asked if OPASCOR will be talking to local government units to exempt trucks with bookings at CIP from their truck bans, similar to what is practiced in Manila, Page said that such is the plan. She said, however, that even without a truck ban exemption, truck bookings will still be implemented to help manage truck flow at the terminal.
Additionally, OPASCOR is talking to truckers about implementing policies aligned with the cargo-handler’s environmental and safety management, such as not allowing trucks with oil leaks or that belch smoke inside CIP. – Roumina Pablo