- Authorities are looking at immediate solutions to lick road congestion leading to Matnog port
- The port’s fast-craft adjustable ramp and its support have been destroyed by strong currents caused by the amihan (northeast winds)
- The Philippine Ports Authority will establish a one-stop-shop that will house personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Industry Authority
- At least 600 cargo trucks and 300 vehicles are currently stuck near Matnog port
Authorities are working on measures to untangle road congestion leading to Matnog port.
Strong currents caused by amihan (northeast winds) have destroyed the port’s fast-craft adjustable ramp and its support, causing delays in vessel boarding and crippling cargo and passenger traffic to Visayas and Mindanao as well as hampering movement of consumer goods in the Bicol Region and nearby areas.
The situation has caused massive vehicle traffic in the area stretching seven kilometers since January 1, 2022, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said in a statement.
At least 600 cargo trucks and 300 vehicles are at standstill near Matnog port.
Fixers—some according to the local police are allegedly employees of shipping companies—are causing further delay in the loading of cargoes and passengers, DOTr said.
In a meeting with stakeholders on January 20, DOTr officials led by undersecretary for maritime George Ursabia, Jr. told shipping companies the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will establish a one-stop-shop that will house personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago has also committed to provide portable toilets and mobile showers for stranded individuals, who have to queue for up to two days before being able to board vessels.
In an earlier joint statement with MARINA and PCG, PPA said it will expedite repairs of facilities in Matnog port to encourage shipping lines to deploy more vessels.
In the long term, the construction of the Sorsogon Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) Terminal starting this year is expected to address perennial congestion at Matnog port, where repairs of damaged facilities are in full swing. PPA is also constructing a truck holding area this year.
Sorsogon Provincial Administrator Enrique Renoria, Matnog Municipal Administrator Dionebel Figueroa and the provincial police have agreed to set up a checkpoint and issue queuing tickets three kilometers ahead of the entrance to the port to prevent fixers from preying on hapless port users.
Matnog port is a jump-off port from Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao that handles Ro-Ro vessels and services passengers.
The port has been known to suffer perennial congestion and truck queuing, especially during the holidays when passengers travelling home flock the terminal.
Just last year, port and maritime agencies tried to solve road congestion near the port, which an inter-agency investigation showed resulted from the lack of Ro-Ro vessels compounded by issues of “fixing” and corruption.