29 October 2008

SBMA's Salonga elected head of Asian ports network

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga, credited for the successful re-focusing of Subic's development thrust into the maritime industry, was formally named the new chairman of the International Network of Affiliated Ports (INAP) here on Tuesday (October 28).

Members of the network, who attended the organization's two-day conference at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, unanimously voted Salonga into the post.

Salonga, who holds the rank of a commodore in the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, became the 10th INAP chairman, replacing Gov. Masanao Ozaki of the Kochi Prefecture in Japan, which hosted last year's conference.

In accepting the chairmanship, Salonga said he is willing to steer INAP "towards not only survival, but also expansion during these challenging times."

He said the INAP should expand further by forging deeper relationships between member ports and intensifying the recruitment of new members into the organization.

This is in response to the call of Ozaki, who remarked that this year's conference theme "Emerging Roles for Asian Ports," is timely because the current crisis in the global economy also affects the maritime sector.

"It is significant in terms of the philosophy of INAP that this year's conference was held here in the port of Subic Bay," Ozaki also said, as he urged INAP members to take Subic Bay as a prime example on how to cope with sudden changes.

Ozaki, who made history in Japan last year as the country's youngest governor in history, added that he admires the way SBMA has propelled Subic Bay from the devastating economic effects of the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and the pullout of the US Naval Base the following year.

"Now, Subic Bay Freeport's logistics infrastructure, including air, land and sea transportation systems, allows Subic to perform its role as one of the main driving forces of the Philippine economy," said Ozaki.

Salonga, meanwhile, recalled that Subic's port modernization project has barely began when the free port first hosted the INAP symposium in 2002.

"Subic Bay has gone a long way since then — the port modernization project is now a reality," he said, adding that the SBMA would be willing to share its experiences in developing Subic's maritime port with other members of INAP.

The group, which was formed in 1998, has seven members: the ports of Subic and Cebu in the Philippines, Kochi port in Japan, Mokpo Newport in South Korea, Tanjung Perak in Indonesia, Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Qingdao in China..

Aside from holding the convention and business meetings in Subic, INAP conference delegates are scheduled to meet with officials of the Clark Development Corp., which manages the Clark Freeport. (SBMA Corporate Communications)