Iloilo as global hub in ICTSI bid

Measured steps Port handling giant International Container Terminal Services Inc. Chairman and CEO Enrique K. Razon banks on Iloilo being developed as the center for Visayas trade and later on as an international transhipment hub for the country. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Developing Iloilo as an international gateway for the Visayas region will get a kickstart with international port developer International Container Terminal Services Inc.’s (ICTSI) plan to upgrade the Iloilo Port Complex and the Port of Dumangas at a cost of P5 billion.

Under the firm’s proposal, submitted to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Dumangas Port will be converted into an international container terminal that can accommodate huge vessels.

Over the life of the proposed concession with the PPA, ICTSI has estimated an investment of over P5 billion to fully develop the Iloilo Port Complex.

Currently, there are 10 roll-on/roll-off ships operating in the port to service the Negros Island and Cebu City routes.

ICTSI submitted a letter of intent to modernize infrastructure at the two ports and to eventually manage and operate these.

The company said its proposal will help upgrade the port network and facilitate inter-island and international cargo movement.

High Visayas potential

“We truly believe in the growth potential of the Visayas in general and of Iloilo in particular. That growth is anchored on the building of infrastructure and the delivery of basic utilities and services,” said ICTSI chairman and president Enrique K. Razon Jr.

He said with the development of a port superstructure and the cost-efficient delivery of electric services, ICTSI hopes to help Iloilo in attaining its full potential.

“ICTSI believes that the ports’ development will not only improve efficiency but will, more importantly, evolve the ports into becoming the Philippines’ Visayas hub that will improve connectivity for cargo movement within the country. Our vision is to ultimately turn these two ports into international gateways,” ICTSI global corporate head Christian R. Gonzalez added.

ICTSI said, in a statement, it hopes to arrive at an agreement with the PPA that will be compliant with the agency’s rules and the country’s laws.

The company also intends to bring to the Iloilo ports its know-how in managing ports honed from its 30 years of experience across the 30 ports that it operates worldwide.

Equipment costs P1.35B

ICTSI said an integral part of the investment will include the dredging and deepening of the port itself and the channel to allow the direct entry of new generation international vessels.

New port equipment to be brought in during the first phase alone has been estimated to cost P1.35 billion and will include modern quayside crane handling equipment.

ICTSI is also offering substantial investments to develop the Port of Dumangas to seamlessly handle the spillover from the city port.

As with other ports that it operates worldwide, ICTSI will introduce new systems in operations, engineering and administration.

The introduction of automation will further promote efficiency and security. With its excellent relationship with major shipping lines, the ICTSI commercial team will promote the services of the Iloilo ports. And as with its other ports, it hopes to employ local talent that will operate the ports and to roll out engagement programs for port users to ease business transactions.

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