September 23, 2017 at 12:01 am
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—With lower rates, faster turnaround time, and 15 piers and wharves to choose from, the Subic Bay Freeport is angling to be the port of choice for shippers and port users in Northern and Central Luzon today.
Atty. Wilma T. Eisma, administrator and chief executive officer of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, said during the Northern Luzon Investors’ Conference at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel last Thursday that Subic provides the best solution in terms of the ease and cost of doing shipping and related maritime business.
Eisma told business leaders and prospective investors in the region that along with its strategic location, the country’s premier free port provides 10 built-in advantages “that could spell the difference for players in the shipping business.”
Subic’s plus factors for successful shipping operations are faster turnaround time, absence of red tape, short processing time, absence of congestion, absence of traffic, immediate docking upon vessel arrival, no truck ban, lower port tariff, higher efficiency, and ISO-quality service, Eisma said.
To start with, the Subic Freeport has a total of 15 piers and wharves that can support the transshipment of a wide range of cargoes.
Eisma said the two wharves in Subic’s former Ship Repair Facility are ideal for passenger ships, as well as military vessels because they are located near the Central Business District, while the two other piers further inside the facility would be ideal for repair and boat services.
The two jetties at the former Naval Supply Depot are perfect for break-bulk cargoes and shipments bound for Subic’s industrial parks and manufacturing centers in Central and Northern Luzon, while the three docks at the Boton Logistics Center would best be suited for petroleum products, she added.
Those at Cubi Point, Eisma said, could accommodate containerized cargo, as well as grains and fertilizer, while the single landings at Nabasan, Camayan and Grande could be used for specialized purposes, including tourism.
Eisma also pointed out that Subic is already the port of choice for Hanjin, the fourth largest shipbuilder in the world; China’s Jovo Group, which operates the country’s first ship-to-ship transfer of liquefied petroleum gas; and Subic Bay Int’l Terminal Corp., an affiliate of the International Container Terminal Services Inc., one of the five major maritime terminal operators in the world.
“We have also attracted nine container shipping lines that now connect Subic Bay to major commercial centers in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and this is because we have some of the lowest rates in stevedoring and arrastre, as well as export, import and transshipment fees,” Eisma said.
She cited as an example Subic’s stevedoring charges for a loaded 40-footer container that is only $94.33, while that for Manila goes for $137.87 excluding VAT, or a difference of $43.54 or 31.58 percent.
Subic’s arrastre rates for the import of a 40-footer container is just P4,787.05, while that for Manila is pegged at P9,235.00 excluding VAT, or a difference of P4,447.95 (48.16 percent).
As a center for maritime operations, Subic also offers key port services like cargo handling, pilot and tugboat services, ship chandelling, bunkering and tendering, ship agents, onboard repair, cargo survey, underwater survey, and vessel lay-up and line handling, Eisma said.
It likewise provides facilities for fuel storage and handling, grains storage, maritime training, ship repair, warehousing, and vessel lay-up.
Eisma also said that because the Port of Subic is uniquely accessible by sea, land and air, more and more manufacturers and export producers, as well as importers in Luzon are shipping through this free port.
Among the top exporters using the Port of Subic now are Yokohama Tires Phils., which is located at the Clark Freeport; Juken Sangyo (Subic), Petron Freeport Corp. (Bataan), HLD Clark Steel (Clark), Tong Lung Phil Metal Industry (Subic), Johnson Control-Hitachi (Subic), Limech Manufacturing and Trading (Subic), Orica Phils. Inc. (Bataan and Subic), Hitachi Terminal Mechatronics (Subic), and Philip Morris Int’l (Subic).
The top 10 importers through the Port of Subic are Foton Motors Phils (Subic), Yokohama Tires Phils (Clark), TIPCO (Pampanga), Nestle Phils (Bulacan), San Miguel Brewery (Pampanga), United Auctioneers Inc. (Subic), Tong Lung Phil Metal Industry (Subic), Masinloc Power Plant (Subic), HHIC-Phils Inc. (Subic), and Transam Waste and Rags (Clark).
In the same occasion, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade spoke on the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program for Subic and Clark, while Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vivencio Dizon discussed the proposed Clark Green City, among other speakers.
Roberto Locsin, SBITC president and general manager, talked about Subic Port and how it facilitates trade for Northern Luzon shippers.
(c) Butch Gunio