04 March 2010

NCC eyes Subic-Clark-Batangas corridor as international logistics hub

The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) has embarked on an ambitious project to convert the Subic-Clark-Batangas corridor into an international logistics hub in the country's bid to service the rapidly expanding intra-Asian trade and investments.

NCC has commissioned UP professor on urban and regional planning Hussein Lidasan to prepare the terms of reference (TOR) on which the masterplan will have to be based.

Under that agreement, NCC spelled out its vision of developing an inter-modal logistics system covering mega-Manila that will be integrated globally at competitive costs and quality.

The initiative was also designed to decongest Metro Manila by gradually shifting the cargo traffic from its ports to the new ports of Subic and Batangas.

As a prerequisite to making the detailed masterplan, the TOR will answer the questions, what needs to be done, what are the pressing issues and concerns that have to be looked at, what economic development concepts should be reviewed and evaluated that would really be appropriate for the corridor, what would give the private sector to actively participate in developing the corridor, and how would the development of the corridor's inter-modal logistics system be defined to be responsive to such development concepts.

After the TOR, a masterplan would be drawn up for the proposed Luzon integrated logistics hub that covers the economies of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales in Central Luzon, and the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas stretch in southern Luzon. The proposed corridor already accounts for about half of the country's total output, said NCC.

The masterplan would cover cities and provinces along the corridor which would be later owned up and implemented by their local governments in tandem with the national government, strong involvement of public and private sectors, with the private sector coordinating activities leading to the realization of the plan.

The idea of making the Clark Special Economic Zone as the logistics hub in Asia was first proposed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The NCC's innovation was to include land, air and sea transport along the proposed logistics corridor to the rest of East and South Asia. (Edu H. Lopez, Manila Bulletin)