09 March 2014

SBMA offers facilities to truckers

THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is taking as an “opportunity” the expanded truck ban being implemented in Manila offering its facilities to truckers.

Roberto Garcia, SBMA chairman and administrator, in a letter to former president and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said he fully endorses and supports Estrada’s political will in pushing through the expanded truck ban beginning Feb. 24.

Estrada agreed with the city council under Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domogoso to implement the day-time truck ban to further decongest traffic in the city.

In the first two days of its implementation, the truckers staged a “holiday” that lasted almost the entire week while both sides engaged in a continuing dialogue to find a “win-win” solution.

The wild-cat strike called by the truckers adversely affected not only the revenue collection of the Bureau of Customs which posted an aggregate drop of 74 percent in revenue from the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port, the country’s biggest ports.

The strike also affected some businesses which relies on their shipments of raw materials and semi-finished products to run their factories in Metro Manila and the nearby areas.

Garcia said the cargo-handling facilities at the former US naval base is enough to handle 600,000 containerized cargo a year. An estimated 2.8 million containerized shipments were being processed at the Port of Manila each year.

“Regrettably, this port (SBMA) serviced only 38,000 containers in 2013 or a mere six percent rate of port utilization,” Garcia said.

He noted that based on an earlier study by the Japan’s International Cooperation Agency, some 450,000 containers landing at the Manila ports are destined (import) or originating from (export) Central and Northern Luzon.

“We in Subic are ready to accommodate even the entire load of the 450,000 containers that ‘unnecessarily’ pass through Manila presently,” Garcia said.

“We have intentionally lowered all port-related charges, wharfage, berthing and other port fees precisely to make Subic competitive and lower than that of Manila,” he added. (Paul Gutierrez, Journal)