ICTSI gets green light to operate Iloilo port

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New reach stackers are set to arrive at the Visayas Container Terminal (VCT) as part of ICTSI's ongoing modernization program. Photo from ICTSI.
  •  International Container Terminal Services, Inc. has received regulatory approvals to operate and develop Iloilo Commercial Port Complex, renamed as the Visayas Container Terminal, for 25 years
  • ICTSI received on April 15 the Notice to Proceed to operate VCT, following a review by the Philippine Ports Authority and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel
  • ICTSI said it will focus on improving terminal productivity and service quality by investing in the development and rehabilitation of the terminal infrastructure and the deployment of cargo- handling equipment

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has received regulatory approvals to operate and develop the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex, renamed as the Visayas Container Terminal (VCT), for 25 years.

ICTSI in a statement said it received on April 15 the Notice to Proceed to operate VCT, following a review by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.

PPA on January 29 issued the notice of award to ICTSI, the sole bidder for the project, with a proposed concession fee of P750 million for the sixth to 10th year of the concession period, excluding taxes.

READ: ICTSI awarded 25-year contract for Iloilo port

ICTSI’s proposed concession fee for the sixth to 10th year of the concession period is higher than the minimum fixed concession fee of P500 million, with an annual fee of P100 million for the sixth year.

Christian R. Gonzalez, ICTSI executive vice president, said: “The Visayas Container Terminal (VCT) is poised to become a catalyst for Iloilo’s economic and social growth. We’re thrilled to begin operations and transform the Iloilo Port into a world-class gateway for the Central Philippines. Our significant investments in modern infrastructure, cargo-handling equipment, and operational efficiency will drive this transformation.”

ICTSI said it will focus on improving terminal productivity and service quality by investing in the development and rehabilitation of the terminal infrastructure and the deployment of cargo-handling equipment.

ICTSI noted that VCT serves as a vital gateway for the province of Iloilo, the entire Panay Island, and the wider Western Visayas region. Its natural harbor in the Panay Gulf, sheltered by Guimaras Island, provides a safe and ideal environment for ships and vessels.

While the seaport plays a crucial role in regional trade, ICTSI said capacity and efficiency constraints have held back its full potential. ICTSI said its involvement will transform the port, addressing these challenges and unlocking its economic benefits.

The seaport handles a current volume of 100,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and two million metric tons of non-containerized cargo annually. It features 627 meters of operational quay length and 20 hectares of land dedicated to container and general cargo storage, warehousing, and other cargo-handling activities.

Under the contract, VCT operations will exclusively serve foreign vessels and cargoes. For the first five years, domestic vessels and cargoes are permitted until the Fort San Pedro port development turnover.

Fort San Pedro will serve as the designated domestic terminal.

Investment requirements under the contract include an internationally-recognized terminal operating system, PPA-owned equipment maintenance, and infrastructure upkeep. The winning bidder must construct a 250-meter berth, upgrade the container yard for partial rubber-tired gantry operations, and provide cargo-handling equipment to meet future demand.

For the first five years, the winning bidder must remit 20% of annual gross revenues to PPA. From the sixth to tenth year, a fixed annual concession fee applies, followed by incremental increases based on the consumer price index every three years from the eleventh year onward.

In addition to the yearly concession fee, a 20% variable fee will be remitted to PPA if the actual traffic volume exceeds the volume threshold by 10%. The variable fee for the sixth year is based on the highest throughput from the initial five years. A minimum working capital of P51 million is required.

VCT is the first port bid out under Tier 1 of PPA’s port terminal management regulatory framework, which aims to enhance port services by involving the private sector.