SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - Subic Bay Freeport's New Container Terminal-2 (NCT-2) has been formally assigned as an extension of the Port of Manila as part of government efforts to solve cargo congestion in Manila.
This developed as executives of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that would take effect on Friday (Sept.12).
The MOA was signed by SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia and PPA General Manager Juan Sta. Ana.
Under the agreement, NCT-2 will be known as "Subic Bay Freeport-Manila Port Extension" and will be used to load, unload or transship containerized cargoes with Manila as port of destination, origin, or transshipment, but which cannot be accommodated in either the Manila International Container Port (MICP) or the South Harbor.
Garcia said the SBMA will retain the right to collect fees from the ships and containerized cargoes under this agreement, as well as to reject any cargo or ship that may pose risks to the health, environment, and security of inhabitants and stakeholders of the Subic Freeport.
In a briefing held here on Wednesday, Garcia also told reporters that the Port of Manila presently has about 4,000 container vans declared as overstaying, thereby exacerbating congestion in the country's major port.
Garcia said that to help solve the problem, it was agreed upon that a ferry will start shipping the overstaying containers from Manila to Subic twice a week, or more frequently as needed.
For this, SBMA will charge the consignees P1,000 per twenty-footer container a day. However, starting October, the fee will be raised to P5,000 a day to force consignees to pick up their cargoes and to bring them out of Subic, the SBMA official explained.
"After the Bureau of Customs has inspected, cleared, and issued release documents for the container, the consignee should immediately remove it from NCT-2, otherwise a penalty of P5,000 a day will be charged against him," said Garcia.
Garcia also assured the public that the SBMA is doing everything to maintain orderliness at NCT-2, and has considered measures to prevent traffic congestion due to the expected increase in the number of trucks hauling containerized cargoes in and out of the Freeport.
He said that the SBMA has consulted the management of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), which assigned Lane Number 3 on both sides of the toll road exclusively for cargo trucks.
Garcia added that the SBMA is also proposing to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fund the construction of a new road that will directly link Subic's New Container Terminal to the SCTEx. This project is estimated to cost more than P2 billion.
The SBMA chairman also noted that the Subic agency is considering reducing its current port charges to make them competitive with fees in other ports so that more shippers would use Subic.
"While the Manila extension is a done deal, we make sure that everything is already in place before more container vans are shipped here in Subic. At the same time, we are still finding ways to make Subic more competitive than its neighboring ports," Garcia said.
The NCT-2 and NCT-1, which is being used by existing port users in Subic, have a total capacity of 600,000 TEUs. (30)