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Ramped up port infra to make PH Asean shipment hub; PPA to build P300-M shipbuilding facility

Ramped up port infra to make PH Asean shipment hub
GENIVI FACTAO August 29, 2019

The Philippines needs to deliver port infrastructure in order to be at par with Singapore as a transshipment hub in Southeast Asia, Patrick Ronas, president of the Association of International Shipping Lines, said on Wednesday.

Automation and policy streamlining, especially of Customs procedures, would increase the Philippines’ competitiveness, Ronas added.

“The Philippines is a gateway. Some carriers go to the Philippines because it’s the way to Southeast Asia from the North. You make a little money here because somebody pays for that journey. There are so many economies that are involved,” he said during a roundtable discussion with editors and reporters of The Manila Times.

Ronas cited developments in Manila ports — Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), a flagship project of International Container Terminal Services Inc. , and South Harbor, which is being operated by Asian Terminals Inc.

“The MICT is building Berth 7 and the next one is Berth 8. The ATI is also getting additional space for its container yard. With that, we [will be able to] move a little faster. We have better turnaround time,” he said, adding that there were also “developments” in ports in Davao and Iloilo.

Ronas said there were also “developments” in Clark and Subic.

He added that Batangas had become “very attractive,” “activities” were going on in Laguna and many industries were being built in the south and the north.

“Volume-wise, it needs a bit more to get some of the business in Manila ports. Batangas is getting the cargo volume. Cargo throughputs were doubling compared from where they were when they were starting. Manila will stay on. We’re a net- importing country, so a lot of products need to come to Manila,” Ronas said.

In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region, according to him, Singapore plays a very important role in the maritime industry.

“Singapore is very fast. They are the master as far as transshipment is concerned. They got tariff for handling of cargo and they even give bonuses. A container can connect in 12 hours to another vessel in Singapore. They can do it via website,” he said.

“Here, there [are] a lot of regulations. You have a lot of documents. In other countries, it’s complete. Just send an electronic data interchange that this container connects to this… its done,” Ronas added.

“You need some leverage, if you want to attract the same business as what Singapore is doing,” he said.
The Philippines, he added, needs technology and modern Customs system.

Ronas said technology would enhance the way of doing business in the country, but for which the Philippines needed manpower.

He noted the Philippines is a consumption economy and the volume of its exports has not had dramatic growth of late.

The export sector, according to Ronas, might need some push from the government.

He also noted that the Philippines lags behind its Asean peers in terms of foreign investments.

“I have been advised that the Philippines would seem to be losing out to other Southeast Asian countries because, [for example] Chinese investors have started building factories in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Indonesia is also getting its fair share. For the Philippines, we don’t seem to be getting those inflows. The government should look at it [and ask] why?” Ronas said.

He added the trade war between the United States and China may not have a direct impact on the Philippines but the latter is trailing behind in terms of investments coming from China.

PPA to build P300-M shipbuilding facility
TED CORDERO, August 30, 2019

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is building a shipbuilding facility to modernize the country’s maritime sector.

This is the “first shipbuilding facility that will be initiated under the Duterte administration,” PPA General Manager Jay Santiago said.

“We have already completed our feasibility study. In fact, we have already identified the location. But we cannot disclose the location now because we don’t want to discourage speculations sa land holdings,” Santiago said during a press conference on the sidelines of the Maritime Safety Summit in Manila on Friday.

The facility encompasses 10 hectares, with the cost of initial investment placed at P300 million.

“‘Di kasama ang equipment and manpower … So we’re looking at an initial investment of P300 million,” Santiago said.

The facility is by design an assembly line for various shipbuilders.

“We want all of them to come together, to come up with a vessel ... An assembly line that everybody will participate in, and there will be no competition among manufacturers,” Santiago noted.

“We expect those who will come in will be bringing in their equipment because they know how to jump start the manufacturing process,” he added.

The PPA is looking at the “best vehicle to implement” the construction, either government-initiated, private public , or solicited proposals.

“Hopefully by next year we should be able to break ground sa facility natin,” Santiago said.

Once the facility is in place, the government wants to initially produce leisure vessels, roll on-roll off (RoRo), or fast craft vehicles.

"This is in line with the modernization thrust of the government. We want to deploy as many passenger vessels as possible. Also, we are retiring or decommissioning vessels that are unacceptable for the safety of our passengers,” Santiago noted.

“There is a massive support from shipping operators, ship owners because they will be the customers of this shipbuilding facility,” he said.

It is cost-efficient for ship owners and operators if their fleet is built locally. “Initially we are looking at inviting manufacturers involved in shipbuilding either in Navotas or in Cebu,” Santiago said.

The PPA is planning to enroll the shipbuilding enterprise under the Board of Investments or the Philippines Economic Zone Authority to qualify for fiscal incentives. —VDS, GMA News