Subic's new container terminal-1 begins to spur growth in Luzon
Olongapo City (26 February) -- Subic's New Container Terminal-1 (NCT-1) is beginning to spur growth among industries in Luzon that need to widen their reach in the global market.
Already, actual collections by the Subic seaport in 2008 reached P276.24 million, which is 21 percent higher than the P228.21-million target for 2008, according to retired Captain Perfecto Pascual, who heads the Seaport Department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
He noted that since NCT-1 started its operations in April 2008, it has tremendously contributed to the revenue upsurge, as the facility rakes in some P4.3 million into the SBMA Seaport's coffers monthly.
Pascual noted that updating of shipping fees being collected in the Port of Subic likewise helped, along with the decision of the SBMA to modify its policy on vessel and cargo charges, including those levied on the Philippine Coastal Corp, whose exemption from paying said fees was cancelled in the fourth quarter of 2007.
SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said NCT-1, which comprises the first phase of Subic's $ 215-million port development project under the Super Regions program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has a cargo-handling capacity of 300,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and is now primed to position Subic Bay as the new maritime logistics center of the Philippines.
"Now that the infrastructure are in place, it would be easier to attract foreign investments and boost local trade at the same time," he added.
The NCT-1, which is now being operated by the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), has already unloaded shipment deliveries from the port of Kaoshiung in Taiwan.
The commercial operation of the NCT-1 boosts Subic's bid to attract more investments and become a major catalyst in propelling economic growth in the country.
SBITC vice chairman Francisco Delgado III said, "Subic is now fully-equipped to attract, foster and support industries, and it is a key to an industrialized Philippines."
"NCT-1 will provide the global link needed by industries in the Central and Northern Luzon growth corridor," he added.
Pascual said despite the global economic downturn, the SBMA Seaport expects a revenue of P316.3 million this year, compared to actual revenue collections of P276.24 million in 2008.
"The slowdown in the shipping industry, ironically, turns out good for the Port of Subic since shipping lines began to use Subic Bay as a place to lay by their vessels," he said.
As of last count, 22 vessels are laid up in Subic Bay to wait out the recession. The SBMA Seaport earns about P6 million monthly from these idle ships, Pascual noted.
Subic's container port and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) at the neighboring Clark Freeport are the key ingredients to government efforts in transforming the former Subic and Clark military bases into a globally-competitive service and logistics hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
Subic's port and Clark's airport are now connected by the 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, which plays a crucial role in facilitating the efficient transfer of raw materials, products and services between the two free ports and other industrial areas in Luzon. (PNA) [top]