03 August 2014

PCCI says diverting other cargo to Subic may boost Luzon trade

NORTHERN Luzon can draw more investments and expansions if the government shift the traffic of container cargoes in the Subic Bay Freeport and put a cap on the container volume to be handled by Manila, said the country’s largest business groups on Friday.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is advocating a mandatory cap on the capacity of Manila’s ports and reiterates the maximizing of Subic ports, echoing the call of its Northern Luzon members.

PCCI President Alfredo M. Yao met with presidents and delegates of PCCI member-chambers in Northern Luzon during the North­ern Luzon Business Conference in Baguio City in July.

Northern Luzon member - chambers said the shift of car­goes to Subic will benefit not only business communities in Luzon outside Metro Manila but also the port users.

Reg ions in Luzon out side Metro Manila account for about 20 percent of gross domestic product.

“Efficient movement unleashes a lot of business projects in prov­inces,” Yao said in a statement.

“Subic uses only 6 percent of its capacity because cargoes do not go there. It’s time for the Philippine Ports Authority to look seriously at recommendations for a manda­tory cap.

The port in Manila is now at about 120 percent and have long overstretched its capacity,” Yao said.

Trucking costs have shot up to about P50,000 per trip from P18,000 per trip in the first quar­ter, he said.

The shift also will remove uncer­tainties about the reliability of port users as part of the production and distribution links of global supply chains.

The chambers are confident that the mandatory cap makes growth of future earnings of port users sustainable, Yao said.

Member-chambers that recom­mended the limit on container traffic in Manila’s congested ports and the use of Subic Freeport by international shipping lines are the Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Clark Investors and Locators Associa­tion, and the Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers.

The government and private sector collaboration on logistics and transportation issues will be a topic to be taken up between Cabi­net officials and business execu­tives during the 40th Philippines Business Conference, scheduled this October. (Catherine N. Pillas, BusinessMirror)