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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)

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04 November 2008

Execs: Subic has come long way

Top officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) are optimistic about the freeport's prospects in the global maritime sector.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza, in his address during the general assembly of the International Network of Affiliated Ports (INAP) here on Wednesday, said compared to 10 years ago, Subic has come a long way.

He said Subic is now home to some 1,100 investor-firms that provide jobs to more than 85,000 workers.

Arreza said Subic, which has the newest operating container port in the country, possesses key infrastructure that can support a wide range of businesses.

With this, Subic now responds to the growing requirements of seaborne trade in Northern and Central Luzon, and is ready for the capacity shortage of 14 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) projected for Southeast Asia, Arreza told conference delegates.

He said the existence of nine other piers and cargo terminals in Subic, the logistics support infrastructure in the Subic-Clark growth corridor and the freeport's location in the center of the East Asian region would give this free port access to more investments.

During the conference, representatives of INAP's member-ports installed SBMA Chair Feliciano Salonga as INAP chair for 2008 to 2009.

Salonga said he would steer Inap to survival and expansion, especially during these challenging times.

INAP, formed in 1998 as a venue for exchanging information and sharing technology and expertise on marine transport and logistics, held its 10th annual conference here as the global economic downturn began affecting major industries, including the maritime sector.

Masanao Ozaki, governor of the Kochi Prefecture in Japan and outgoing INAP chair, lauded the SBMA for promoting investment and employment opportunities in Subic.

"For the significant increase in [the] number of investors and jobs created in Subic, I would like to show respect to the people of SBMA for the hard work and generous effort in developing the local economy," Ozaki said.

Hiroshi Yamanaka, ports promotion director at the Kochi port in Japan, said the Kochi government encouraged not only exchanges among government officials, but also among traders during the Subic conference.

The Kochi government had 30 delegates to the conference, 20 of them coming from the private business sector, Yamanaka said.

The Japanese delegation, he said, checked developments inside the Subic Bay
Freeport in pursuit of possible economic exchanges or trade. (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

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