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26 October 2008

Japanese traders in INAP conference to survey business prospects in Subic Freeport

Authorities at the Port of Kochi in Japan have urged port-related businesses in their area to join the 10th annual conference of the International Network of Affiliated Ports (INAP) here this week and survey possible business ventures in this free port.

According to Hiroshi Yamanaka, ports promotion director at the Kochi port, the Kochi Prefectural Government encouraged not only exchanges among (government) officials, but also among traders during the two-day Subic conference that begins on Tuesday.

This is because the business sector “is actually the one conducting trade in the ports belonging to the INAP group,” Yamanaka pointed out.

In turn the prefectural government, which administers the Port of Kochi, has enlisted 30 delegates to the Subic conference, with 20 coming from the private business sector, Yamanaka said in a email sent to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Thursday.

The Japanese business delegation, he said, is part of the “economic mission of businesses” they have formed in response to the establishment of INAP in 1998 as a forum for consultation, cooperation and exchange of information among member-ports.

As in missions to other INAP member-ports which involved private businesses, Yamanaka said, the Japanese delegation will check out developments inside the Subic Bay Freeport “in pursuit of possible economic exchanges or trade.”

“If we could encourage more such exchanges in the private sector, so that they happen not just once but several times a year, we would see greater results,” he said.

Yamanaka pointed out many companies in the Kochi area began pursuing overseas business ventures after attending last year’s INAP conference that was hosted by Kochi port.

This is because one special characteristic of INAP, Yamanaka said, “is not simply the one-on-one port relationship, but the network of alliance among ports that spans many different countries.”

He said that the ties among member ports “will lead to the advancement of their respective regions and countries.”

Yamanaka added that he himself became excited to come to the Philippines after hearing about serious efforts of the SBMA to transform Subic Bay into a leading maritime and logistics hub in the Asia-Pacific region, as discussed by SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga in the Kochi conference last year.

Kochi’s ports promotion division, which Yamanaka heads, served as the INAP secretariat since the port organization was established 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, Salonga, who is the incoming chairman of INAP, announced that representatives of the seven member-ports will meet here to discuss the emerging roles of ports in the Asian region.

The INAP members include the ports of Subic and Cebu in the Philippines, Port of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Port of Kochi in Japan, Port of Tanjung Perak in Indonesia, Port of Qingdao in China, and Mokpo Newport in South Korea. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

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