PORT operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and domestic shipping company Aboitiz Transport System (ATS) have permanently dropped plans to bid for the North Harbor, saying they would much rather focus on their main businesses. Francis Andrews, ICTSI senior vice president, said the company’s focus is on acquiring small terminals around the world, and developing then reselling them at a premium. "Our international operations are very different from domestic operations. We are presently focusing on global expansion and have no plans for the local industry as of yet," he said. The firm recently bought a 95% stake in Indonesian port operator PT Makassar Terminal Services for $5.6 million. It has also placed several bids in other ports across the globe, including the Leon D. Guerrero Port in Guam. Andrews said ICTSI is also not interested in acquiring other domestic ports up for privatization. ICTSI has facilities in Batangas, Subic Bay, and South Cotabato, but most are underperforming due to the sluggish growth of the economy. ATSC chairman Jon Ramon Aboitiz, on the other hand, said the company sees "no need to bid for North Harbor even if other shipping lines are planning to do so as we are based comfortably in the South Harbor." Government wants the industry’s leading players to operate the North Harbor since very likely they would be the ones finally capable of undertaking the facility’s modernization. When the PPA Board approved a version of the terms of reference in February, it limited the participation of shipping firms in the operation of the port to only 5%. PPA general manager Oscar Sevilla, during a public hearing on the privatization of the facility, however, said he favored the entry of shipping lines in port operations in order to widen the pool of potential operators. The danger of unfair competition would not be a problem since PPA would still oversee operations and could easily take over if there are complaints, Sevilla said.