14 October 2014

Shipping firms opening routes from Subic to key regional ports

More shipping firms are considering opening routes from Subic to Singapore and Shanghai, as more enterprises start using this port in Central Luzon to avoid the container congestion in Manila, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority said.

In a statement, SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia said NYK was “seriously thinking of establishing a Subic-Singapore route.”

Garcia said there were also reports about the planned opening of a Shanghai-Subic route “which will open China to shippers directly, instead of passing through Kaohsiung, Taiwan.”

“Subic is really lucky because we are the only port on the Western seaboard of the Philippines that has the necessary capacity at this point in time. Manila is congested. Batangas is congested. I hope we get congested soon, but that will be a happy problem,” Garcia explained.

For this year alone, Subic’s container port intake is expected to surge by 84 percent to 70,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from only 38,000 TEUs in 2013, according to the SBMA.

While the increase in volume would mean a significant increase in Subic port revenue, Garcia said there was a need for the Subic port not to get congested just like what happened to Batangas port after just one month of serving as an extension port of Manila.

“We’ve been informed that within the next two weeks or so, there will be ships that will be coming to unload and use Subic as an extension port,” Garcia said. “With the expected arrival of these ships, it is very important that the Port of Subic does not get congested or it will defeat the purpose of promoting Subic as an alternative port to Manila.”

Garcia added that Subic will have to be prepared for more cargo traffic because of reports that it was not only the Port of Manila that is congested, but also some major Asian ports like Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

“This is going to have a ripple effect,” he added. (Amy R. Remo, Philippine Daily Inquirer)