Optimal use of Subic port eyed

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    SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – With its mandate to develop this freeport into a globally-competitive service and logistics center, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now exerting all efforts to maximize the use of marine logistics facilities here, including the New Container Terminal (NCT-1 and NCT-2), which has a total capacity of 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

    According to lawyer Red Tuazon, who is SBMA OIC-senior deputy administrator for aviation and maritime operations, the agency is bent on attracting port users to fully utilize the port of Subic, which boasts of 15 piers and wharves capable of handling all types of vessels.

    He said the Subic port has a huge potential in marine logistics because of the four main ports in the country, Subic port now placed third in terms of container cargo traffic with 21,623 TEUs recorded in 2009, next only to Manila with 2.87 million TEUs and Cebu with 469,776 TEUs.

    In terms of bulk and break bulk cargo, the Subic port ranked fourth with 2.2-million metric tons, he added.

    Tuazon, who led the SBMA delegation to the recent 6th Philippine Ports and Shipping 2011 Exhibition and Conference, said the SBMA is now eyeing the privatization of NCT-2, which has been delayed due to a lack of quorum in the SBMA board of directors.

    Tuazon clarified that the NCT-2 was initially bid out by the SBMA Special Bids and Award Committee (SBAC) in 2009. However, while three entities purchased the bidding document, no bids were submitted on the scheduled submission date, thus the bidding was declared a failure.

    Thereafter, the SBMA revised the terms of reference (TOR) for this project and went back to its original intention of operating NCT-2 as a container terminal, Tuazon recalled.

    In 2010, a rebidding of NCT-2 was conducted, using the same procedure as in 2009, but this time with a revised TOR. Tuazon said that three entities again purchased the bidding document, but only the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) submitted eligibility/pre-qualification documents and bid.

    Tuazon said the SBMA’s SBAC reportedly checked the bid of ICTSI and found it in order, but before the SBAC could forward its recommendation for award to the SBMA board of directors, Malacañang revoked the appointments of 13 directors pursuant to Executive Order No. 2 which took effect on July 30, 2010, thereby leaving the decision-making body without a quorum.

    “However, with the recent appointment of eight new SBMA directors, bringing to 10 the number of directors sitting in the SBMA board, it is likely that the privatization of the NCT-2 will be one of the agenda when the new board convenes,” Tuazon added.

    He also stressed that the new board has not indicated that it would scrutinize the contract for the NCT-2.

    According to SBMA records, the Subic seaport earned a total of P414.5 million in 2010 and a slightly higher income of P472.85 million in 2009 due to a P6-million monthly earning from ships laid up at Subic Bay during the global economic crisis.

    Tuazon said the Subic seaport could have earned P16 million more last year if the NCT-2 was already operating as a bulk and break-bulk terminal.

    He added that in the second quarter of 2011, the port of Subic is expected to earn more from the entry of Tiger Lines and other shipping firms that will be servicing Singapore and Malaysia.

    The NCT is the newest operating container port in the country that responds to the growing requirements of seaborne trade in Northern and Central Luzon, and the capacity shortage of 14 million TEUs projected for Southeast Asia.


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