Central Luzon transport, trade conference successfully concluded

  • Some 300 representatives from the logistics and trade industries took part in the Central Luzon Transport & Trade Conference in Clark, Pampanga on May 24
  • The event highlighted Central Luzon’s attraction as a logistics hub and strategic destination for investors
  • In focus was the Subic and Clark economic corridor, being developed into a mega logistics hub

Almost 300 representatives from the logistics and trade industries participated at the recent Central Luzon Transport & Trade Conference 2024 at Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort in Clark, Pampanga.

The May 24 event — co-organized by PortCalls and the Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association — highlighted Central Luzon’s attraction as a logistics hub and a strategic destination for investors.

In focus was the Subic and Clark economic corridor, which is being developed into a mega logistics hub, along with the Bataan corridor.

Subic-Clark Alliance for Development executive director Atty. Carminda Fabros noted the timeliness of the conference following the recent announcement by the US, Philippines, and Japan of the Luzon Economic Corridor (LEC), an initiative that will support connectivity between Subic Bay, Clark, Manila and Batangas.

In her welcome remarks, Fabros said the LEC will hasten the development of the Subic and Clark economic corridor as a mega logistics hub.

In his keynote address, Transportation Undersecretary Roberto Lim urged participants to join hands with government to produce a modern and competitive logistics and supply chain in the region.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region III OIC-regional director Brigida Pili provided an overview of Central Luzon, the country’s third largest economy and one of the top foreign investment destinations. She noted, however, that continuous development of infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, are needed to continue the region’s momentum.

Department of Transportation assistant secretary for planning and project Leonel De Velez shared government plans for the transportation system, including intermodal transport facilities, cold chain network, and freight rail transport, as well as policy development initiatives.

Clark Development Corp. president and chief executive officer Agnes Devanadera and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman and administrator Eduardo Jose Aliño outlined the advantages of Clark Freeport Zone and Subic Bay Freeport Zone, respectively, as prime investment destinations, especially for the logistics sector. They also shared plans and projects to further improve ease of doing business in their respective areas.

Noel Manankil, chief executive officer of Luzon International Premiere Airport Development, operator of Clark International Airport, briefed participants on the role of the airport as a strategic hub for logistics players and shared plans for future expansion.

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. commercial director for the Philippine cluster Mikkel Puyat, meanwhile, provided Subic port’s advantage as a shipping destination.

Sustainability in logistics was the focus of Christian Go’s presentation. Go is the DHL Summit Solutions, Inc. general manager for operations. He shared DHL’s sustainability and decarbonization journey, a highlight of which is the use of electric vehicles.

FAST Logistics chief solutions officer Israel Baleta also talked about their adoption of electric vehicles for sustainable transportation, and the role of AI in logistics and driver/truck management solutions.

United States Agency for International Development-Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy chief of party Noel Santiago tackled the challenges of digitalization and e- commerce on sustainability, and called on the logistics industry to help champion environmental responsibility in the Philippines as e-commerce and digitalization expands.

Sharing the Department of Trade and Industry’s initiatives for the logistics and supply chain industry was Trade undersecretary Mary Jean Pacheco, who emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sector in pushing for and achieving various programs for the industry. These include, among others, streamlining the accreditation of freight forwarders, pushing for the removal of pass-through fees, and interoperability of various systems in the supply chain.

Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Subic deputy collector for operation Atty. Marlon Fritz Broto and BOC-Port of Clark district collector Erastus Sandino Austria provided updates on their respective ports’ customs and trade policy changes, as well as initiatives to improve the flow of trade and maintain the country’s borders.

This year’s event is a sequel to the successful 2023 edition held at the Clark International Airport attended by over 300 government and private sector executives with multiple trade exhibitors.