11 February 2013

Subic Maintains Competitive Port Fees

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) decried reports claiming that shipping costs in this premier Freeport will increase as soon as the government reroutes their traffic from the port of Manila to here.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said contrary to figures being floated around, the SBMA services are as competitive as that of Manila’s.

He said that Subic’s rates are meant to attract ship operators to use the Port of Subic.

With an aggressive stance in promoting this premier Freeport as the go-to cargo and container port terminal in Central and Northern Luzon, the agency set out rates and incentives to be more competitive than in Manila.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya endorsed the Port of Subic, encouraging cargo shippers to use Subic Bay and Batangas ports to decongest the ever-growing traffic in the Port of Manila.

Recent study shows that the utilization rate of Subic Bay Freeport is 5 percent, while Batangas’ rate is 4 percent.

But Christian Gonzalez, general manager of Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and regional head of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) told reporters last week that the move will “make trade more costly.”

The suggestion (of using Subic and Batangas) goes against market dynamics, he claims and “the way to keep costs down in this port environment is to let the consumers decide.” (Jonas Reyes, Manila Bulletin)