International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has increased to P8.7 billion its estimated investment cost for its unsolicited proposal to modernize and develop the Iloilo Port Complex and the Port of Dumangas in Iloilo province.
ICTSI’s letter of intent submitted last year had given an estimated investment cost of over P5 billion to modernize the two ports’ infrastructure and superstructure and eventually manage and operate the facilities. In a recent statement, the port operator said its plan now costs P8.7 billion, covering four development phases.
ICTSI global corporate head Christian Gonzalez, during a briefing attended by Ilonggo political leaders and business groups, said the company aims to bring Iloilo Port to world-class levels by maximizing big ship capability; installing ship-to-shore gantry cranes; and continuously upgrading yard capacity aligned to traffic studies. ICTSI also plans to build a terminal for cruise ship passengers so as to meet the objectives of the National Tourism Development Plan.
Gonzalez said that with these development plans, Iloilo can be the major regional transhipment hub for Visayas.
Additionally, agri-aqua products from Iloilo can be shipped to domestic and foreign markets in refrigerated containers, driving costs down and making these goods very competitive.
Gonzalez added that once the traffic limit in the Iloilo port is nearly reached, the port in Dumangas will be developed as originally proposed by provincial governor Arthur Defensor.
Senator Franklin Drilon, who hails from Iloilo, said ICTSI’s plan is very timely given that Iloilo is poised to become a major exporter of agricultural products once the Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project is completed in 2022. The project is expected to irrigate 31,000 hectares of rice land, doubling the rice production of Iloilo.
“The expansion of Iloilo port sits well with our plans for the province. This early we are seeing a heightened shipping activity in the province due to the economic developments that have taken place in the province for the past years,” Drilon said during a briefing attended by Ilonggo political leaders and business groups.
“We have to develop our port and equip it with modern facilities so it can continue to accommodate the growing demands for port services,” he added.
Iloilo City mayor-elect Jerry Trenas stated that he will ensure full cooperation of the city so that the road network to and from the port is upgraded to accommodate the expected traffic.
Local incentives will also be reviewed to make it attractive for exporters and importers to use the port.
Iloilo Economic Development Foundation chairperson Narzalina Lim offered to mobilize all the business associations in Iloilo to throw their support behind the ICTSI proposal and write a letter to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to accelerate the review and approval of the original proponent status of ICTSI.
Last April, Gonzalez said ICTSI would submit before Easter the “last last-minute requirements” requested by PPA. He said that after the submission, “the ball is in PPA’s court to determine the way forward.”