Home » 3PL/4PL, Customs & Trade, Exclusives, Features, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Traffic-, truck ban-free setup gaining Subic more shippers—SBMA chief

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator and chairperson Atty. Wilma T. Eisma at the recent Northern Luzon Investors’ Conference organized by PortCalls and Asia Customs & Trade.

Subic port is now providing the same services shippers get from the Manila port, but without the truck bans and the heavy road traffic, according to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator and chairperson Atty. Wilma T. Eisma.

The SBMA head, in a presentation during the recent Northern Luzon Investors’ Conference organized by PortCalls and Asia Customs & Trade, said Subic port offers a faster turnaround time with no red tape and congestion; reduced processing time; docking of vessels upon arrival; lower port tariff; higher efficiency; and ISO-quality service.

She noted that everything Manila has, Subic port also provides, except for traffic and truck bans. Eisma noted that travel time from Subic to Manila is predictable compared to the long hours it takes to traverse gridlocked Metro Manila.

“It’s really a no-brainer. You should come to Subic. Why bother going here in Manila when you can go to Subic, enjoy the beautiful beaches, and work as hard as I do but still stay beautiful?” Eisma told participants of the conference held at the Makati Shangri-La.

Port operator Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC) president Roberto Locsin, during the same conference, echoed Eisma’s words, saying, “Anything you can do now in Manila you can do in Subic.”

Locsin noted that Subic Port, particularly New Container Terminals 1 and 2, has the same equipment as the major ports of Manila, Shanghai, or Rotterdam. He added that more shipping lines are also now servicing the port, thus connecting the port to more routes.

Subic port lies 160 kilometers from Luzon and is a “short hop and skip away from all of the intra-Asia ports that serve the same market,” Locsin said.

He said 54% of exports going through Subic port are bound for the same intra-Asia destinations as products leaving Manila port. He added that more cargoes destined for North America and Europe are now going out of the Philippines through Subic.

This, Locsin said, “tells us most of the cargoes that go to Manila for those destinations are starting to trickle down to Subic because it is easier to get in.” He also emphasized the flexibility of the port, and the fact that the port is using “the same shipping line that they use in Manila.”

Subic port, he added, is connected to good roads such as Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and North Luzon Expressway, and good access roads in Subic Bay Freeport.

Locsin noted the growing market that Subic port serves. Region 3 currently has a population of 12 million people with a 2% annual growth rate. This, Locsin said, translates to a million more people over the next five years, representing a significant volume of consumers for importers, and increased access to great talent for exporters.

Subic port also has a one-stop shop that houses SBITC, SBMA, and Bureau of Customs-Subic personnel and that allows port users to “technically spend half a day clearing a box.”

At the same time, Subic port has the first and only on-dock container freight station in the region. Locsin said shippers with less-than-container loads who go to Manila to consolidate shipments can now do this in Subic.

Cost advantages

There are a number of cost advantages in shipping through Subic port, he added. The port gives 10 free storage days, which allows shippers to manage demurrage and detention.

For products destined for the Freeport, shippers can take advantage of the deferred payment of duties and taxes.

From the port terminal’s perspective, Locsin said Subic port can give a shipper up to 48% in savings on a specific tariff compared with Manila.

Of the total shipping cost, Locsin said, Subic port can save the shipper roughly about 25% to 27% in expenses “all in, whether you pay a premium in your slot cost (freight cost).”

Even as people are starting to take advantage of Subic port, Locsin said the port continues to dialogue with potential clients about the benefits of using the Northern Luzon hub.

“We expect to see a little bit more growth at the end of this year,” Locsin noted.

The 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit annual capacity terminal is currently utilizing only one-fifth of its capacity. – Roumina Pablo

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