Philippine-based port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) is looking forward to improved investment and trade opportunities between the Philippines and Brunei following President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to the oil-rich Southeast Asian country.
“We are hopeful that this state visit will open up more opportunities for the two countries to further develop the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). ICTSI is fully committed to be an active partner in both countries’ drive to promote economic growth, especially through sound investments in port management and development,” ICTSI senior vice president and head of Asia-Pacific Christian Gonzalez said in a statement.
ICTSI said it has operated the sultanate’s leading trading gateway, Muara Container Terminal (MCT), for the past eight years through its unit New Muara Container Terminal Services (NMCTS), where around 85% of employees are Bruneians. Just recently, NMCTS was honored as one of Asia’s top employers at the 7th CMO Asia’s Best Employer Brand Awards 2016 in Singapore, ICTSI added.
“ICTSI has built a reputation for itself as one of the most successful port operators in the world. Eight years says a lot as to what we have been doing in Brunei. It speaks to the kind of leadership and management style in all of our terminals around the world,” group vice president for business development-Asia Manuel De Jesus said.
“With the state visit, we look forward to bigger avenues for economic partnership between the two countries,” he added.
ICTSI is currently proposing a long-term concession with the Brunei government, intending to further develop the Port of Muara into a world-class gateway.
“Given our global expertise and sound business practices backed by international financial institutions, we can develop world-class port facilities in Brunei. With President Duterte discussing trade relations, we’re really hoping for things to go well so both countries can capitalize on these opportunities,” explained Reimond Silvestre, NMCTS general manager.
“For us, we’re hoping we could expand our contract in Muara so we can pour more investments, create a world-class trade gateway and provide better service to the people of Brunei,” he added.
Duterte flew to Brunei last October 16 to hold bilateral meetings with the Sultan of Brunei, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu-izzaddin Waddaulah, as well as his ministers.