31 July 2016

Subic expects bigger cargo volume in 2016

WITH all the reforms that the seaport in Subic has implemented over the last few years, the volume of goods flowing in and out of the facility, deemed as the top international cargo shipping hub in Northern Luzon, should increase this year.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto V. Garcia said the Port of Subic has shown “great potential, as more businesses utilize Subic as their entry point to the Philippines.”

Cargo unloading at the Port of Subic

“We anticipate a growth in volume as more and more companies capitalize on the services and facilities here and the much greater access and efficient transportation of goods the area provides,” he said.

Together with the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), the SBMA has opened a one-stop shop (OSS) in its new container terminal (NCT) 1, significantly reducing port document processing time from one day to a mere four hours.

Roberto R. Locsin, general manager and president of SBITC, said that, with the recent upgrades, the port would be more efficient in handling the expected surge in cargo volume.

“The upgrades will ensure that our clients, both local and international, will receive world-class port service at the shortest turnaround time,” Locsin said.

The OSS also provides a designated lounge where brokers are given access to Wi-Fi and workstations. The company also recently acquired from Finland Generation G reach stackers that have a 45-ton lift capacity.

To date, the port offers cargo-handling services for both 20- and 40-foot containers, as well as the bigger 45-foot boxes for a full container load (FCL) and especially-handled cargo. The terminal also allows 10-day free storage for cargo exports and imports.

In 2015 SBMA introduced lower harbor and berthing fees resulting in a 75-percent increase in regular port calls from shipping companies that have been doing business in the area for years and new ones ready to take advantage of the latest opportunities.

With strategic business partnerships, trucker costs are now more competitive amounting to almost only a third of the previous price.

“Our seamless and cost-effective transfer of goods allows port users to maximize their business operations,” Locsin said.

With an annual capacity of 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the terminal is projected to exceed last year’s 120,000-TEU cargo volume, now that more business enterprises from nearby Bataan and Clark Field in Pampanga course their cargo through Subic.

Garcia said his group believes that Subic is the best option for businesses that carry imported and exported goods to and from North and Central Luzon.

Garcia also noted that the SBMA has adopted a preadvise system for trucks to improve traffic flow in and out of the free-port zone. This system was first implemented in the Port of Manila and has already made significant improvements in minimizing the dwell times in the port. This is the same efficiency expected to benefit the companies in the Subic port.

“All of these developments in NCT-1 and 2 manifest our readiness to accept the much greater volume of cargo in the port,” Garcia said. “We continue to strive to deliver world-class service and management in our operations as part of our mandate and continued commitment to help drive economic growth in the country. The much greater volume will pose a completely new set of challenges.”

Subic has been making head-way in terms of transshipment and maritime logistics services, overshooting its 2014 port revenue of P908.6 million by 25 percent, with a P1.16-billion collection last year. The port has significantly grown in 2015, as it recorded a 123,558-TEU cargo volume, from just 77,618 TEUs in 2014. (Lorenz S. Marasigan, BusinessMirror)