DICT’s Phase 2 expansion to double port capacity to 700,000 TEUs

vice president and assistant general manager Bonifacio Licayan told participants at the recent Mindanao Shipping Conference 2016
vice president and assistant general manager Bonifacio Licayan told participants at the recent Mindanao Shipping Conference 2016
Davao International Container Terminal vice president and assistant general manager Bonifacio Licayan during his presentation at the Mindanao Shipping Conference 2016 in Davao City.

Just two years after its initial operation, Davao International Container Terminal’s (DICT) annual capacity will double to more than 700,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) after the second phase of an expansion program is completed in July 2016.

The P1.8-billion expansion for the port located in Panabo, Davao del Sur includes rehabilitating and converting the existing Berth 2 into a container terminal and installing two post-Panamax cranes, DICT vice president and assistant general manager Bonifacio Licayan told participants at the recent Mindanao Shipping Conference 2016 organized by PortCalls and the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association.

Upon completion, Berth 2 will be 173 meters long and, together with the 250-meter Berth 3, will give DICT a total berth length of 423 meters, enough to accommodate two large container vessels at the same time.

Berth 1 services break bulk cargoes that cater to the Japan and South Korea markets.

With the additional two quay cranes in Berth 2 and the existing two in Berth 3, DICT will have a total of four quay cranes capable of handling 705,000 TEUs.

Licayan said there are already seven reservations for when Berth 2 starts full operation, mostly by DICT’s current callers.

At present, DICT has six regular weekly callers — APL, CMA CGM, MCC, Pacific International Lines, Wan Hai, and the consortium of Regional Container Lines and Advance Containers Line.

Starting May, another shipping line will start a weekly call, Licayan said. He did not name the carrier.

Part of the Phase 2 program is the expansion of the empty container depot (ECD), only 400 meters away from the port, from three hectares to eight hectares. Since March this year, empty containers have been stored at the ECD where all attendant services are performed. The depot offers container inspection, pre-trip inspection, washing, maintenance and repair, ventilation and temperature setting, and container releasing.

The acquisition of additional support equipment is also part of the Phase 2 project. For now the terminal has eight reach stackers, nine empty container handlers, 10 yard goats, 29 prime movers, 28 bomb carts, five combination trailers, and 54 gooseneck chassis trailers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways has an ongoing project designed to decongest the Panabo central business district, and provide an access road to Davao City and another one to the boundary of Panabo City and to the nearby northern towns of Carmen and Dujali. The project aims to connect DICT to these areas without adding to traffic in Panabo.

Licayan noted that DICT is strategically located near plantations. He said a Philippine Economic Zone Authority-registered industrial zone currently being constructed just beside the terminal will further provide additional cargoes to the port.

In 2015, DICT handled 267,283 TEUs, 17% higher than the 2014 volume of 228,212 TEUs. Vessel calls likewise rose 37% to 287 from 210 ships in 2014.

For the first quarter, the volume has reached 61,174 TEUs, still relatively low due to the effect of the El Niño phenomenon.

Licayan, however, said they expect banana and pineapple production to improve in the second half of the year and boost volumes further in 2016.

He noted Davao has a unique trade profile, where 86% of exports going through DICT constitute refrigerated shipments and the rest dry shipments.

For imports, the trade profile is quite the opposite, with 98% consisting of dry shipments and only 2% reefers. Of the dry shipments, 30% to 40% are cargoes such as plastics, papers, fertilizers that complement Davao’s reefer trade.

Catering to this unique trade, DICT provides 1,080 reefer plugs and has 12MVA of standby power for continuous operations. Mindanao constantly suffers from massive power outages.

DICT is a joint venture between the terminal’s parent company, Anflo Management Services, Inc., and Davao’s two biggest banana exporters, Dole-Stanfilco and Tadeco, giving the terminal “control over key customers,” Licayan noted. But while catering to its own produce, DICT is a private commercial port that services all customers, Licayan clarified.

He said the terminal even helps small growers by providing a consolidation area near the terminal. For a minimal packaged rate, DICT provides for chassis trailer, reefer plug, and delivery of the container to the ECD; once full, the container is delivered to the on-dock container yard and loaded onto the vessel.

The terminal also offers paperless transaction by maximizing the use of its terminal operating system, Navis SPARCS N4. Licayan said the terminal has had discussions with the Bureau of Customs about giving the agency access to a Navis feature called “community access portal.”

“We don’t have to look at your import entries and export declarations. All we need is a computer for the Bureau of Customs and then with a click of a mouse they can select a container, whether to hold it or to release it,” Licayan explained.

He added DICT is offering the same service to shipping lines for paperless cargo release. – Roumina Pablo