THE single-operator scheme being proposed by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in the privatization of the North Harbor gained ground after the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) reportedly agreed to the scheme.
According to a source sitting on the National Ports Advisory Council (NPAC) where the issue was discussed late last month, the NCC was convinced that the North Harbor gets adequate competition from South Harbor and Harbour Centre.
The source said NCC chief Meneleo Carlos agreed to the scheme after considering domestic traffic in South Harbor and Harbour Centre, factors that were not previously considered when the NCC and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) crafted their position pushing for the multi-operator scheme.
It may be recalled that the PCCI lodged a case on the North Harbor privatization with the NCC.
The port’s privatization has been delayed for almost five years now by wrangling on whether it should have one or many operators.
The PortCalls source said the NCC for now wants to first see the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the privatization, particularly fees.
He explained that the NCC will only allow the single-operator scheme if PPA prioritizes the lowest bidder, and if PPA drops its interest when it comes to revenue.
The PPA expects to collect some P200 million in revenues annually or about P16 million a month as its share from port operations.
Under the present TOR, the PPA will bid out the terminal to a single operator. But earlier, the plan was to divide the facility into four terminals—two main cargo terminals competing with each other, a passenger terminal, and terminal for trampers. Each of the terminals will have an operator that will undergo the government’s bidding process.
This time, however, the North Harbor privatization will still have those components but will all be under a single operator that would market the facilities to other concessionaires.