This site is powered by the Media Production Department,
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)

27 August 2016

Subic equipped for huge cargo influx - SBMA

CARGO moving through the Subic Bay International Terminal Container (SBITC) is expected to surge over the next five years as a rising number of shippers will start using the port, according to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

In a statement issued on Friday, SBMA said it was ready to handle the surge.

As of end 2015, containerized cargos that went to Subic jumped to 123,510 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent containers), a 60-percent expansion, from 77,177 TEUs the year before.

For non-containerized cargos, about 7.5 million metric tons of goods were shipped through the port, 24 percent higher from the 6.1 million mark the year before.

“SBITC can safely handle about 20 to 30 percent more cargos year-on-year in the next few years,” said SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia.

SBITC has a rated capacity of 600,000 TEUs. And because of the upgrades installed by the port operators, the port can now also handle forty-foot equivalent containers (FEUs). Garcia also pointed out that the number of shipping lines calling at SBITC regularly has increased since 2014.

“People think that we can’t carry FEUs in Subic. This is wrong. We have the equipment to handle these big boxes from all over the world,” he said adding that brokers and truckers will not experience delay in releasing cargos from the port.

“Some think that it is difficult to get accreditation from us. It is not; it only takes half day. And if the broker and the trucker still cannot finish the paper work within the day, we will still release the cargo. They only have to show proof that they have started the paperwork to be accredited,” he said.

Garcia said with all the upgrades and the infrastructure in place, Subic is the best option for businesses that carry goods to and from the Northern part of Luzon. (Raadee S. Sausa, The Manila Times)

A container ship docked at the NCT1 of the port of Subic.

Subic Freeport gears up for tourism month

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is enjoining the public to visit the Subic Bay Freeport in September to enjoy a month-long celebration that features the unique sounds and colors of Subic Bay.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said the Subic agency has lined up various activities showcasing the best of the region’s most visited tourism destination in line with this year’s theme, “Tourism for All, Promoting Universal Accessibility” of the National Tourism Month.

Garcia said that next month’s celebration will highlight the sound of entertainment and excitement unique to Subic, as well as the colors that invigorate the sights and adventures that visitors and locals enjoy in the Freeport.

“This will not be another ordinary month in Subic. We have prepared various tourism-related competitions, which will give you a chance to win prizes, or you can simply enjoy your stay in the Freeport as spectators,” he continued.

SBMA Tourism Department head Mary Jamelle Camba added that the month-long tourism celebration here will officially kick off on September 5 with a motorcade, followed by a trade and photo exhibit, and a job fair.

The month-long trade and photo exhibits, which will be held at the Harbor Point Mall, will feature photographs taken from favorite tourist destinations in Subic, as well as various produce from Zambales and Bataan.

Meanwhile, the two-day job fair to be organized by the SBMA Labor Department will make available at least a thousand jobs to applicants. This will be held at the Subic Gym on September 5 and 6.

The celebration will also feature youth and sports-oriented events like the TRAP Aquathlon Championships at the Remy Field and the Subic Bay Ultimate Community Frisbee Tournament at the Remy Field on September 4; the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) Basketball Tournament at the Subic Gym on September 8 and 17; and the SBMA Body Painting Contest on September 30.

The Subic celebration will also include exciting competitions like the Central Luzon-wide Professionals Flair-tending/Bartending Competitions on September 13; the Tourism Quiz Challenge in the Subic Got Talent- School Category on September 15; and the Subic Got Talent- Open Category on September 22, all at the Harbor Point Activity Center here.

The SBMA has also scheduled the Subic Bay Freeport Familiarization Tour, a free rolling tour around selected tourist attractions and parks for SBMA employees and students on September 7, 14, and 21; and for persons with disability on September 28.

SBMA officials are also inviting the public to take a glimpse of unique offerings from other provinces in the region through a special Central Luzon Province Show and the launching of the Festival of Festivals,which will cap the Subic celebration on September 9 and 30, respectively, at Harbor Point.

The Department of Tourism (DoT) regional office has named Subic Bay Freeport as the most visited tourist destination in Central Luzon since 2013, based on reports submitted by accommodation establishments in all the seven provinces and three economic zones in the region.

Subic was also named “Number 1 Tourist Destination in Region III” for two consecutive years and continues to live up to its title as “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon,” which the DoT bestowed in 2012.

“Subic has everything,” Chairman Garcia said. “We have the facilities and the access by land, by water,and by air. And of course, we have year-round activities to make your stay in Subic memorable.”

“We invite you now to see the upcoming Tourism Month activities here and experience for yourself why people say that ‘It’s more fun-tastic in Subic’,” Garcia added. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

Some of the popular tourism attractions in the Subic Bay Freeport:
[1] Magaul Bird Park
[2] Malawaan Fishing and Picnic Area
[3] El Kabayo Riding Stables

24 August 2016

Gov't to pursue use of Subic, Batangas ports to decongest Manila roads

The Duterte administration will push for the use of the ports of Subic and Batangas to ease bottlenecks at Manila ports.

This scheme is one of five infrastructure projects expected to decongest Metro Manila road traffic. The other projects are: The North-South Railway Project (NSRP)-South Line; the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)-EDSA project; Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-Ortigas link bridge; and, a common station for MRT 3, LRT 1, and MRT 7.

Container truck traffic at the port of Manila

The Infrastructure Committee has specified measures to urgently address Metro Manila’s traffic crisis and decongest the city, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a press conference in MalacaƱang on Tuesday.

The projects will be carried out in partnership with private sector.

Road traffic congestion in Metro Manila cost the country at least P3 billion a day, according to a study that Japan International Cooperation agency conducted in 2012.

Two of the projects—NSRP South Lane and BRT-EDSA—alone will cost P238.96 billion. Costing of others is yet to be finalized.

According to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center website, the NSRP, which has an indicative cost of P170.7 billion, aims to revive the railway to provide improved transport and logistics services to currently underserved areas and encourage more productive activities.

The proposed NSRP South Line PPP covers Metro Manila to Legazpi City, Albay, plus a number of existing and proposed branch lines totaling 653 kilometers.

It consists of commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba and long haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legazpi, including extended long haul rail operations on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and extension between Legazpi and Matnog.

The railway between the existing Tutuban station and the city of Calamba, in the Laguna province is a 56km section of the NSRP and is proposed to have commuter rail operations in addition to long haul rail operations of NSRP.

This section represents an existing Philippines National Railway (PNR) right-of-way (ROW) which runs through
Metro Manila. Currently, the NSRP has a narrow gauge railway.

However, the PPP Center said extensive rehabilitation and reconstruction is needed to bridges and road crossings to bring it to safe operating condition.

Meanwhile, the Metro Manila BRT-EDSA, is a rapid transit infrastructure of 48.6km through EDSA, Ayala Avenue, Ortigas-BGC, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport with 63 stations. It will add accessibility infrastructure like greenways, pedestrian walkways, and bikeways. The total project cost is estimated at P68.26 billion, of which public sector component is P37.76 billion, with an implementation schedule of 2017 to 2019.

The bridge that will link Bonifacio Gobal City (BGC) in Taguig City and Ortigas Center in Pasig City will include vehicular underpasses below the Makati Business District.

“The immediate implementation of the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas link bridge… is expected to divert 25 percent of the EDSA traffic,” said Pernia.

The link bridge will add up to C5, which is located on the east side of Metro Manila.

“So we need another one there to add road space for those traveling between the two parts of Metro Manila that is cut by the Pasig River,” he explained.

Another, Pernia said, is the early resolution of the Common Station for MRT 3, LRT 1, and MRT 7.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways will hand the final configuration of the station to the Department of Transportation,” he said. (Mayvelin U. Caraballo, Manila Times)

Subic investments reach a record PHP111.5 billion in Jan.-Aug. 2016

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority recently announced the inflow of PHP111.5 billion into this Freeport in the form of newly approved investment projects in just the first seven months of 2016.

This represents the highest approved investments ever for the same span of time since the Subic Freeport’s establishment in 1992. The record-breaking performance also surpasses the Freeport’s total new investments of PHP18.5 billion in 2015 by more than 500 percent, and its 2012-2015’s total of PHP 47.9 billion by 132.77 percent.

So far, the biggest investment in Subic this year came from Australasia Cold Storage Logistics and AIA Airways Company, Inc. with a committed investment of PHP70.5 billion.

The logistics investment project will involve transporting agricultural products from Australia, mostly meat and seafood; repacking them in Subic; and then flying or shipping them out to customers worldwide. Also included in the project are the putting up an intermodal cargo terminal and the use of both airport and seaport with an expected turnout of around 60 containers a month for the Subic Port.

Another significant new investment is the solar and industrial estate project of Dynamic Konstruk Enterprises with an investment pledge of PHP34 billion and a projected employment of 40,000-50,000. The proposed industrial estate project will include the development of a 200-megawatt solar plant, the construction of warehouses and logistics facilities, and the establishment of factories in a 400-hectare area in the Redondo Peninsula near the site of the Hanjin shipyard.

Once on stream, the two new projects and other approved new investments are expected to generate a total of 54,973 new jobs in the Freeport, which traditionally sources the manpower requirements of its locators from Olongapo, Bataan, and Zambales; as well as from Pampanga, Tarlac, NCR, and other areas. (AMF/CorCom-SBMA)

20 August 2016

Subic-Clark rail, phase-out of old ships in DOTr plan

SPEAKING at a joint meeting of the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) and the Aircargo Forwarders Association of the Philippines on August 11, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade outlined his development plan for the maritime sector over the next six years.

The plan include projects to ease reliance on the Port of Manila, maximize the use of Subic, and to phase out the commercial use of old and wooden-hulled ships. The long-term objective, he said, was to develop a 30-year transportation plan for the country.

Much of the plan focused on relieving Metro Manila traffic congestion and improving public transportation infrastructure, but Tugade did offer several key initiatives for the shipping sector.

To relieve reliance on Manila and South Luzon ports—particularly Batangas, which is increasingly being used by locators in the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas industrial zones south of Metro Manila—Tugade encouraged shippers to use rail links, barges, and roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) networks to distribute shipments to other terminals.

Currently, a project to upgrade ro-ro ports along a route stretching from Batangas to Cagayan de Oro, called the Central Spine Roll-on/Roll-off project, is under preliminary study and development by the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center.

Another significant initiative Tugade said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is studying is connecting the Subic port with the airport at Clark with a rail link. “The advantage of Subic as a seaport will be the advantage of Clark as an airport, and the advantage of Clark as an airport will be the advantage of Subic as a seaport,” Tugade said expansively, pointing out that the linkage would give freight forwarders in either location increased flexibility.

In order to improve maritime safety, Tugade also said the DOTr plans to phase out wood-hulled commercial ships and vessels more than 35 years old. He stressed, however, that the government would not do so without offering assistance, such as in the form of low-cost financing, to businesses that would be affected by the move. (Ben Kritz, Manila Times)

The port of Subic (left) and Clark International Airport (right)

16 August 2016

Subic port issues rules for shipping

THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is introducing a new rule requiring all shippers or their designated third parties to weigh packed containers or its contents under either of two allowed methods, using equipment that meets national certification and calibration requirements.

SBMA has its own rules implementing the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) on verified gross mass (VGM) and weight estimation of container’s contents is hereafter prohibited.

Under the SOLAS VGM, no container will be loaded onto a vessel if it does not have a VGM starting July 1.

Under the new policy, the shipper may weigh the packed and sealed container with calibrated and certified equipment or weigh each item—including the mass of pallets, dunnage, and other packing and securing materials— to be packed in the container-and adding the tare mass of the container to the total weight of its contents. The latter method needs to be certified and approved by the National Metrology Laboratory of the Philippines (NLMP).

To implement the SOLAS VGM requirement and ensure the efficient and smooth flow of commerce, the Freeport authority advises parties in the supply chain “to make arrangements for the timely transmission and exchange of VGM information.”

Carriers should give shippers cut-off times to provide them the required container weight verification so they can prepare a ship stowage plan. These cut-off times, SBMA noted, may vary depending on the carrier as well as the operational procedures or requirements of different terminal operators.

Moreover, the weighing of a loaded container for export is to be verified by the port terminal operator through its calibrated and certified weighbridge that meets the accuracy standards and requirements of SOLAS VGM and has been approved, certified, and calibrated by the NLMP for non-automatic weighing instruments.

SBMA also requires that a packed container should not exceed the maximum gross mass indicated on the Safety Approval Plate under the IMO’s Convention for Safe Containers, as amended.

A container with a gross mass that exceeds the maximum permitted weight will not be allowed aboard a ship and will also incur shut-out charges, SBMA noted. (Raadee S. Sausa, The Manila Times)

The SBMA's Seaport Department is in charge of managing the Port of Subic Bay, which has been an ISO 9001-2000 certified port in 2003 and 2004.

13 August 2016

Subic is cost-effective for businesses – SBMA

THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said coursing cargo and shipments through the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC) is cost-effective.

“Subic is not expensive,” Roberto Garcia, SBMA chair said in a statement, explaining that transporting goods and shipments through the Subic port is cost-efficient due to the port’s strategic location.

Businesses will find themselves saving more because of the roads connecting to Subic, he added.

Garcia further explained that trucker costs are now more competitive in Subic as truck owners bank on the cargo volume that flows through the port.

“Travel time from the port to any point in Luzon has been cut in half because NLEX and SCTEX provide good roads. With that, truckers can complete two trips instead of one which means more business for truck owners in the region,” he explained.

Attesting to the port’s competitive and attractive rates, the costs incurred for trucking from Subic to nearby cities is about as much as the costs, if not cheaper, of transporting goods from other ports in Luzon. “Our advantage lies in our location,” Garcia emphasized.

“Travel time is one resource we cannot disregard, and by using the Subic port, the cargo owners are assured that their cargoes are transported in the most efficient way. Our location and road links will prove that,” he added.

“Cost is down by as much as one-third of the previous price, assuming you are traveling from Subic to Bulacan,” Garcia said.

According to Garcia, the decrease in trucking costs was made possible by the surge of cargos directed to the growing next wave cities in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga.

The Subic terminal has recently established port efficiencies such as the creation of a one-stop-shop for brokers and forwarders and investing in new equipment to ensure that the terminal delivers world-class service to its clients, the SBMA pointed out. (Raadee S. Sausa, Manila Times)

Container ships docking at  NCT-1 of the Port of Subic (photo c/o SBITC)

Australian submarine now in Subic Bay

HER Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Sheean (SSG 77), a Collins-class submarine operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), arrived in Subic Bay Freeport Zone on Friday (Aug. 12) morning.

 A statement by the Naval Public Affairs Office of the Philippine Navy said  the vessel’s port visit to the Philippines will conclude on Aug. 27.

The visiting ship’s commanding officer, Cdr. Jason Cupples, was welcomed on Friday by Cdr. Redentor R. Cortezano of the Naval Education and Training Command.

This was followed by a port briefing on health and security aboard HMAS Sheean.

Philippine Navy spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna said the officers and crew of the Australian submarine are set to conduct subject matter expert exchanges and workshop training with PN personnel.

The visit of the RAN submarine and the personnel interaction with their Filipino counterparts are in accordance with the Philippines-Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement, which provides a comprehensive legal framework to support defense personnel who are engaged in joint training and other related activities conducted in the Philippines or in Australia.

The visit is expected to strengthen the longstanding partnership of the two nations which paves way for an enhanced cooperation in capacity-building and interoperability to undertake humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

Named for Australian seaman Edward Sheean -- the only submarine of the class to be named for an enlisted sailor -- the ship was laid down in 1994 and launched in 1999.

The HMAS Sheean (SSG 77) surfaces as it approaches Alava Pier at Subic Bay.

10 August 2016

Japanese firm sets $30-M to develop Subic Bay golf course

A Japanese company will be developing the Subic Bay golf course into a world-class venue for tournaments, coupled with a facility that will offer housing complexes and fulfilling lifestyle choices for retirees.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said the Subic agency had awarded the golf course development project to a firm headed by Japanese businessman Masafumi Miyamoto, founder of the Smart Community Co., Ltd., the first and largest continuing-care retirement community in Japan.

The Subic Bay golf course clubhouse

“This project is a game-changer for Subic,” Garcia said, noting that it will transform Subic’s existing fairways that had been left rotting in the past few years into a major year-round tourist attraction.

He added that the visiting friends and relatives of those who would reside in the retirement village would likewise generate more economic activities in transportation, shopping malls, medical facilities, hotels, tourist attractions, banks, restaurants, and other businesses.

The project would cost a total of $30 million, excluding a fixed annual rental fee of $350,000 and a five-percent gross revenue share payable to the SBMA for the entire 50-year lease period.

Garcia said that in awarding the lease development contract to Miyamoto, the SBMA considered the overall concept of the project, the proponent’s financial capability, market availability, and business plan presented to agency officials in December last year.

“This s a two-pronged development project that considered the best potentials for what could be considered a major asset in the Subic Freeport,” Garcia said.

Accordingly, the first component, at the cost of $3 million, would involve the renovation and re-development of the whole golf course within two years, from June 2016 to June 2018. This will cover clubhouse renovation, installation of sprinkler systems and repair of ponds, improvement of the golf course, and upgrade of machinery and equipment, golf carts, and service vehicles.

Garcia said the project proponent had promised that the golf course would remain operational throughout the renovation period through a rotational renovation plan that would keep a minimum of nine holes open at a given time.

The second component is the $27-million development of all allowable open areas for the Subic Smart Community within a six-year period. This would consist of the construction and development of an initial 200 condominium units from 2016 to 2018. Next would be the completion of about 1,800 condominium units with various amenities like gym, sports center, arts and crafts studios, karaoke or music rooms, function rooms, library, and bars and restaurants, among others.

Garcia said that Miyamoto’s proposal was based on a market study that showed Japan’s aging society as becoming a financial burden to both the Japanese people and government. This situation had reportedly led to the emergence of elderly care businesses that had rapidly grown to a $252-billion industry just in 2015.

“Subic Bay has been chosen particularly because of its relatively constant weather patterns conducive for year-round golf play and because of its untapped areas that have great potential for a retirement complex,” Garcia noted.

Aside from starting the Smart Community in 2004, Miyamoto founded in 1986 the Square Enix Co., Ltd., which is engaged in publishing, distribution, and licensing of digital entertainment content worldwide, including the highly successful Tomb Raider Final Fantasy.

Miyamoto also founded the Sunpia Golf Club, in Japan’s Tokushima City, which has a total of 100 hectares, with three helipads, 300 parking slots, and driveways lined with cherry blossom trees. (NBM/MPD-SBMA)

US missile destroyer now in Subic Bay

The U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) arrived in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines August 8 as part of a U.S. 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG).

The port call marked Momsen’s midway point as part of the group.

Under the operational control of U.S. 3rd Fleet, the PAC SAG, which consists of the guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Decatur (DDG 73) and Momsen, with embarked Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31 – is conducting routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability.

“Momsen’s presence here sends a powerful message to the world about our commitment to the stability of the region,” said Cmdr. Elaine Brunelle, Momsen’s executive officer. “We are skilled professionals committed to enhancing maritime security through bilateral cooperation with our partners throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

While in port, Momsen will complete a voyage repair period and her crew will participate in community outreach events and take advantage of various tours offered by Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Momsen Sailors participated in four community outreach activities during previous port calls in Busan, Korea, Sasebo, Japan, Singapore and Darwin, Australia. The projects ran the gamut of cultural interactions with senior citizens, children, disabled citizens and beautification efforts.

The crew aboard Momsen will also focus on mission essential maintenance during the voyage repair.

“Sometimes there is special equipment required that the ship does not have on board to calibrate gauges, valves, tools and so on,” said Chief Interior Communications Electrician Justin Hohlbein, Momsen’s maintenance manager. “Pulling into a port like Subic Bay offers us the chance to have these types of jobs completed and the accomplishment of corrective maintenance of mission essential items is necessary for a ship to deploy or to continue on its deployment.”

Spruance also completed its portion of the deployment participating in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI). OMSI is a secretary of defense program leveraging Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

An MH-60R Seahawk lands on the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) in the South China Sea on July 29, 2016. (photo by US Navy)

08 August 2016

USS Greeneville sub arrives in Subic Bay

The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Greeneville (SSN 772) arrived at Subic Bay Aug. 5 for a port visit as part of its Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment.

“I have been looking forward to this visit for some time,” said Cmdr. Gabriel Anseeuw, commanding officer. “Our Filipino partners are very important to us. I wish we could spend more time here, but our work remains at sea.”

Greeneville’s Filipino-American Sailors were anxious to visit and interact with their heritage.

Fire Controlman 3rd Class Marvin Pascua, a Subic Bay native, looks forward to visiting his family in Subic Bay. Pascua left the Philippines four years ago to join the Navy. Pascua said that he misses the Philippines and eating sisig and turon.

Greeneville measures more than 360 feet long and weighs more than 6,900 tons when submerged. It was christened Sept. 17, 1994 and commissioned on Feb. 16, 1996 at Naval Station Norfolk. The Greeneville arrived at its current homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in March 1997.

The USS Greeneville (SSN-772), a Los Angeles class submarine of the US Navy, prepares to dock in Subic Bay Freeport for a routine port call Friday (Aug. 05) morning. (Photos by Jun Dumaguing, MPD-SBMA)

SBMA releases P141.4-M to neighboring LGUs

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) recently released a total of P141.4 million to eight local government units (LGUs) adjacent to the Subic Bay Freeport.

The releases represented LGU revenue shares for the first half of this year.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia handed over individual cheques to mayors and other LGU representatives and announced that the latest of the semi-annual releases is 18.5 percent higher than the P115.23 million distributed for the second semester of 2015.

“We are proud to turn over to you the result of the hard work of our SBMA workers who made everything possible for the agency. They serve fastidiously as we continuously improve our performance for four straight years,” Garcia told the mayors.

Among the town executives who arrived for the turnover held at SBMA Boardroom were Mayor Rolen Paulino of Olongapo City; Bataan mayors Cynthia Estanislao (Morong) and Joseph Inton (Hermosa); and Zambales mayors Jefferson Khonghun (Subic) and Dr. Estela Antipolo (San Antonio).

Mayors Jose Dominguez (Castillejos) and Elvis Soria (San Marcelino) of Zambales, and Mayor Gila Garcia of Dinalupihan, Bataan were represented by their respective municipal treasurers.

The shares released to the LGUs were derived from the five-percent gross revenue taxes (GRT) paid to the SBMA by business locators and investors operating inside the Subic Bay Freeport.

From the five-percent GRT, three percent goes to the national treasury, while two per cent is distributed by the SBMA among the eight LGUs.

The LGU shares are computed based on the following criteria: population, 50%; land area, 25%; and equal sharing, 25%.

The revenue shares are to be used for community development projects, including those for health, education, peace and order, and livelihood programs to enable communities near the Subic Bay Freeport to keep pace with developments in the special economic zone.

The LGU recipients thanked Garcia for the continuous support given by the Subic agency to the neighboring LGUs through the revenue shares, as well as for its effort to generate employment opportunities for residents, and for assistance in various community projects. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

Local government officials show the cheques they received from SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia (fourth from right) during the turnover of LGU shares for the first half of 2016. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

06 August 2016

P60-B project to boost Subic Freeport as logistics hub

A P60-billion investment project to be implemented by an Australian firm here is expected to push this premier free port into the ranks of top global logistics centers today.

This was announced by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Robert Garcia yesterday at a press briefing here, wherein he also cited other new investment projects that had been approved by the SBMA board of directors.

According to the SBMA official, Asian Institute of Aviation (AIA) will occupy seven hectares of land near the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) and will build hangars and food processing stations for its intermodal logistics business.

Garcia said that AIA will be joined by an Australian firm, which will buy into the company for the new operations.

“The business model of the company is to export from Australia to China, Japan, and other Asian countries, via airplanes,” Garcia said. “The company will import meat, sea food, and other agricultural products from Australia by plane or by ship to Subic Bay, and will process and package these products according to customer orders and then deliver them to customers.”

Garcia explained that the Australian partner has been doing the processing already in Australia, but because the processing in Australia entails higher labor cost, it has decided to do the processing in Subic.

The operation, Garcia said, will become intermodal. “They will ship out by air since they have seven jets; they will also ship out via seaport, and their volume for the seaport is 60 containers per month,” Garcia said.

Aside from the P60-billion investment, the project will generate 800 jobs, aside from those during the construction of facilities, and the company “has also shown interest in providing new equipment for the tower at the Subic airport,” Garcia said.

The new investor also plans to build hangars for maintenance and repair operations (MRO) that will cater to jets in Hong Kong. “Mahal magparada ng jet dun. You pay $3,000 just to park it outside without a hangar,” Garcia added.

The new investment has been approved in principle by the SBMA board after the proponents showed proof of funds, Garcia said, adding that the construction of proposed facilities will still be subject to detailed engineering design.

“This is a good project for us,” Garcia said. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA bats for free wi-fi in Subic Freeport tourist areas

With the Philippines in No. 13 among countries with the highest number of Internet users and sixth in the most number of people on Facebook, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is working on a plan to have more public wi-fi areas here where visitors can stay “connected” for free.

According to SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia, the Subic agency is discussing with local Internet provider PLDT-Subictel the possibility of putting up free wi-fi connection for the whole Central Business District (CBD) in the Subic Bay Freeport, an area most frequented by tourists and visitors.

Garcia said that a meeting with PLDT-Subictel president Renato Castaneda has already yielded positive results: the provision of free wi-fi at Remy Field, a favorite spot for residents and practicing athletes because of its track oval and other sports facilities.

“Now I’m trying to convince them to turn the whole CBD into a free wi-fi area, just like what they are doing to airports, seaports, and other places where a lot of people go,” Garcia said.

The SBMA chairman added that he has also identified alternative spots in the Subic Freeport for possible free wi-fi connection. These are the Boardwalk Park, Malawaan Fishing Area, the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, and the Harbor Point mall.

“Aside from Remy Field, those are the major points where visitors would benefit the most from a public wi-fi system,” Garcia added.

Meanwhile, Garcia also announced that the SBMA board of directors is now studying a proposal to operate the Internet-based Uber taxi franchise in the Subic Freeport.

The transport system, which is franchised by the American multinational online transportation network company Uber Technologies Inc., operates through a mobile application that allows customers with smartphones to book trips online.

“Uber is very much interested to put up its business here, maybe because we have a different regulatory framework here. So, we’re working out the details like the requirement for professional drivers and third party liability insurance,” Garcia said.

“We have spoken with the Uber general manager, and they are very interested because they want to make Subic an example of their operations,” he added.

Garcia said that he sees much benefit from Uber operation in Subic: “Number one is it will provide additional jobs; and number two, it will force local taxis in the Freeport to lower their fares, which are really excessive.”

Garcia said the high cost of transportation inside the Freeport works against efforts by the SBMA to promote local tourism. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia (right) and PLDT-Subictel president Renato CastaƱeda discuss the provision of free public wi-fi in the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

04 August 2016

Fendercare Marine to start Subic Bay operations

Fendercare Marine, one of the world’s biggest ship-to-ship (STS) cargo transfer service providers, is opening its services in Southeast Asia by bringing its operation to Subic Bay.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said that among the investment projects approved by the SBMA board of directors recently was Fendercare’s proposal for ship-to-ship transfer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

A world leader in ship-to-ship transfers, Fendercare operates from a global network of over 50 bases

The operations, Garcia said, will generate a minimum of P50 million a year in terms of port use only. This does not include indirect fees like payment for tugboats, chandlers, bunkering, and food supplies, Garcia added.

Jerome Martinez, manager of the SBMA Seaport Department, said the company is planning to start its operation in Subic Bay in the last week of September this year.

In connection with this, he said that Fendercare Marine business development manager William Barker and the company's Asia Pacific commercial manager Capt. George Mills recently conducted an orientation for Subic stakeholders to answer queries and concerns related to the their operations in Subic Bay.

“It is because of the location, the logistics available, and the assistance that the company is receiving from SBMA that Fendercare Marine has chosen Subic as the location for its operation in Asia,” Barker said during the briefings.

Barker noted that the operation would initially involve two ships: MV LNG Excel, a mother ship anchored at Subic Bay and loaded with LNG from Australia, which it would feed to MV LNG Lerici, a daughter ship, which in turn would deliver the cargo to Asian destinations, especially China.

The same officials also briefed fisherfolk in the coastal communities of Subic, Zambales, and Olongapo City on the project.

In the said briefings, Fendercare representatives also allayed fears of adverse environmental impact, saying that LNG is a very safe form of fuel that is why it is widely used in Japan where one shipload of LNG is said to be unloaded every 20 hours.

“It burns slowly, evaporates rapidly, and does not mix with water or kill fish or any other marine life. LNG is very environmental-friendly,” company officials said.

Fendercare Marine, which is a part of James Fisher and Sons plc, has been awarded a certificate of excellence for STS operations throughout 2015 for its exemplary safety record without any environmental accident since it began STS services in 2013, involving LNG transfer.

The company has provided ship-to-ship services to the oil and shipping industries globally since 1995. Today these services are provided from a global network of 50 bases, currently handling in excess of 2,800 transfers a year, the company website said. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)