THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has set its sights on the development of Currimao port in Ilocos Norte in a bid to make it a cargo and tourist cruise hub.
Located on the southwest side of Ilocos Norte facing the South China Sea, the Currimao Port is open to both foreign and domestic trade. The port handles fertilizers, feldspar, petroleum products and cement.
PPA will spend P20.51 million for the construction of a two-storey building on the property. It hopes to award the contract to the winning bidder before Christmas. Construction is expected to take six months.
The cost is outside the P240 million that the PPA is prepared to spend for the proposed cruise ship berth. The port does not belong to the list of priority ports which the PPA would invest on in the next five years.
Mining firms have expressed interest in investing in Currimao port. PPA reported that some investors have already visited the port as well as the private port of Ilocos Norte Mining Co., Inc early this year. It said the firms manifested their interest to use the ports as alternate gateways for domestic and foreign shipments such as iron ore, limestone, aggregates, and manganese.
Earlier, former Philippine Interisland Shipping Association executive director Col. Leonardo Odo–o, said the country does not have a cruise shipping industry due to lack of infrastructure.
ÒHow can cruise ships come to Boracay when there is no port facility there? As a result there are no real cruise ships visiting the country,Ó Odo–o said.
At the moment, the country only has a global passenger terminal in Alava Pier in Subic Bay, which accommodates international cruise ships traveling in the Asia-Pacific region.
Global Terminal and Development, Inc. has infused more than P160 million to transform the 18-hectare former military port facility into a one-stop cruise ship facility with passenger and tourist parks, a warehouse, grain storage facility, and ship repair yard