Passengers going to Visayas and Mindanao should expect delays at the ports of Matnog, Allen, Liloan, and Lipata, according to maritime authorities
The ports are still reeling from effects of typhoon Odette
The problem is further aggravated by current harsh sea conditions resulting in congestion due to reduced frequency of vessel calls
Authorities are working to increase the number of vessels plying the routes to reduce port congestion
Passengers going to Visayas and Mindanao should expect delays at the ports of Matnog, Allen, Liloan and Lipata, all of which are still suffering from effects of typhoon Odette that hit the country in December 2021.
A joint travel advisory by sister agencies Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Philippine Coast Guard said the ports–main gateways of Luzon and Visayas to Mindanao–“are still reeling from the ravages caused by typhoon Odette, which were further aggravated by the harsh sea conditions resulting in congestion due to the reduced frequency of vessel calls.”
Odette was the strongest typhoon to enter the Philippines last year.
In Matnog port in Sorsogon, vessel calls are down to nine from the usual 14 due to ongoing repair of the modular roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) ramp.
There are only two berthing facilities being used in Liloan port in Southern Leyte, while the nearby Benit port in San Ricardo town is not operational due to massive damage from typhoon Odette. Lipata port in Surigao Del Norte also sustained significant damages.
MARINA, PPA and PCG are encouraging passengers to consider other routes such as in Pilar, Sorsogon, or Pio Duran, Albay to Masbate, to Cebu enroute to destination for those bound for the Visayas and Mindanao.
The Lipata to Opol, Misamis Oriental can also be considered for those bound to Luzon.
The three sister agencies said they are working to increase the number of vessels plying the routes to reduce port congestion without sacrificing safety of port users.
This week, the full vessel complement at Matnog port is expected to resume with repair of the modular Ro-Ro ramp almost complete.
“Stability and predictability of trips plying the Liloan-Lipata-Liloan route are also achievable in the next couple of days as trips are now 24/7 while the Lipata-Opol-to Luzon is now set to be served by several shipping lines,” the travel advisory said.
In the long term, the construction of the Sorsogon Ro-Ro Terminal set to start this year is expected to address perennial congestion at Matnog port. Repairs in damaged facilities at Matnog port are in full swing. PPA is also constructing a truck holding area this year.
Matnog port is a jump-off port from Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao that handles Ro-Ro vessels and services passengers. The port, however, is known to suffer perennial congestion and truck queuing, especially in the lead-up to holidays when passengers travelling home flock the terminal.
The Department of Transportation earlier said 160 ports nationwide sustained damages from typhoon Odette, affecting 40 shipping routes and damaged 45 ships.