SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, PHILIPPINES — Japan-based Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, made its first direct route to Port of Subic from Kaohsiung, joining other major shippers in using this free port as an alternative to the congested Port of Manila.
NYK’s MV Jakarta Towers, a 688-gross tonnage Liberian-flagged cargo vessel, made its first port call at Subic on Nov 23 and docked at the New Container Terminal (NCT)-2 after sailing a day-and-a-half from Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The cargo vessel unloaded about 110 container vans destined to consignees in Southern Luzon, including Toyota Motor (Phils.) Corp. in Santa Rosa, Laguna; and Canon Business Machines (Phils.) Corp. inTanauan, Batangas.
Also unloaded were cargoes for consignees in Central and Northern Luzon. These included Sumi Phils. Wiring System Corp. at the Hermosa Ecozone Industrial Park in Bataan; International Wiring System (Phils.) at Luisita Industrial Park and Special Ecozone inTarlac; and Yokohama Tires at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
The ship departed on the same day for the Port of Manila, and then later for Singapore after loading almost the same number of containers.
NYK Group National Sales, Marketing and Outports manager Mary Grace Golez said the port call is part of ad hoc operations of NYK in Subic and will serve as the barometer for whether the line will conduct full-service operations in Subic or use it only as an alternate port.
“It all depends on the outcome of the assessment after several port calls. But we hope everything would go well,” said Golez.
If all goes as planned, the new route—Kaohsiung-Subic-Singapore—would open Port of Subic to major transshipment ports that connect to the rest of the world’s trade routes, especially in ASEAN countries, Africa, Europe, and North America.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Roberto Garcia earlier announced that a number of shipping companies in Southeast Asia are starting to consider using the Port of Subic after experiencing long delays in unloading and loading of containerized cargos in Manila. This was attributed to congestion at the Port of Manila, which has led to vessels waiting for berth space.
Because of this, President Aquino through Executive Order 172 classified the Port of Batangas and the New ContainerTerminal-2 in Subic as extensions of the Port of Manila.
NYK’s Golez noted, however, that the Port of Batangas, which is nearer Manila, was already congested a month after the issuance of EO 172.
Early this month, China-based SITC Container Lines (Phils.), Inc opened a direct route from Xiamen, China to Subic with its container ship MV Sicilia making its maiden voyage to Subic and unloading 22 containers at NCT-2.