22 September 2014

Subic cuts container-port fees by more than 80%

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has announced the reduction of port charges at the New Container Terminal (NCT) here by more than 80 percent effective on October 1.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said in a news conference on Friday that the agency will reduce the harbor fee at both NCT-1 and NCT-2 from the current $0.046 per gross register tonnage (GRT) to $0.008, and the berthing fee from $0.0345 per GRT per day to only $0.004.

Garcia said Subic’s container terminals and the extension port in Batangas will impose the new unified rates to attract more shipping lines, as well as to support President Aquino’s initiative to ease port congestion in Manila.

Before the implementation of the new rates, the Port of Batangas charged a harbor fee of $0.0810 per GRT and a berthing fee of $0.0390 per GRT per day.

“In the case of Subic, the new harbor fee is 83 percent lower than the regular rates here, while the new berthing fee is 88 percent lower,” Garcia pointed out in Friday’s briefing.

“However, the reduced rates will be applicable only at the NCT-1 and NCT-2, and not at the other ports in Subic,” Garcia added.

The NCT-1 is currently being used by regular shippers like Yokohama Tires and HLD Pipes, while NCT-2 has recently been declared, along with the Port of Batangas, as an extension of the Port of Manila under Executive Order 172.

Garcia also clarified that the reduced rates at NCT will be effective for the next six months from October 1. “After that, the rates will increase a little for the next six months, but will still be lower than the regular rates today,” he added, ticking off the second phase of unified Subic-Batangas extension port rates at $0.0410 for harbor fees and $0.0200 for berthing fees.

Garcia said that, in reducing port fees at the NCT, the SBMA expects to lose as much as $10 million to $15 million.

“But we hope to recoup the losses in the long run, as we’re also doing this to encourage new lines to come over, as well as to show our appreciation to existing shipping lines that had stuck with Subic in all its lean years,” he added.

In the same occasion, Garcia unveiled a proactive market positioning program for the Port of Subic to further attract both shippers and shipping lines to the Subic Bay Freeport.

This includes continuous communication with stakeholders like shipping lines, locators and port users; establishment of a simplified accreditation process for port-related services like trucking, freight-forwarding and customs brokerage; systems integration for real-time monitoring and management of container inventory bound for NCT-1; and enactment of domestic tariff for local shipping lines for companies that ship from Subic to other domestic ports.

He also bared other plans to further develop Subic as a center for maritime trade. These include the development of a P2.1-billion bypass road to be used exclusively for the transport of container vans here; the establishment of a one-stop shop to facilitate release of shipments and minimize corruption; installation of fiber-optic system dedicated for the Subic seaport; the expansion of a gatepass management system; and the implementation of the Subic Bay Greenport Program.

Garcia said Subic’s NCT has lately experienced a spike in container traffic, with projections of 70,000 containers this year compared to 38,000 last year, ever since overstaying containers in Manila ports were moved to Subic for temporary storage. (Henry EmpeƱo, BusinessMirror)