SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - The shipping community in the Southeast Asian region is starting to notice the potentials of the Port of Subic as an ideal port to move and transship both containerized and bulk cargo shipments.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said the container ship MV Sicilia made its maiden voyage on the Xiamen-Subic route recently and unloaded its cargoes at the New Container Terminal (NCT) 2.
"We've been informed that within the next two weeks or so, there will be more ships that will be coming to unload at Subic," Garcia said.
"The arrival of Sicilia on her maiden voyage to Subic Bay may be a precursor of more good times to come," he added.
The commercial vessel MV Sicilia, a 927-ton Liberian flag container ship with 21 crewmen and officers led by skipper Capt. Penev Deyan Penko, sailed to Manila and then Subic Bay from Xiamen, China. The vessel is owned by China-based SITC Container Lines Philippines, Inc.
Sicilia unloaded products from Guangxi, Sichuan and Shanghai, all in China, for Orica Philippines in Limay, Bataan; Nestle Philippines Inc. in Cabuyao, Laguna; and Manila World Transport, Inc. in Metro Manila, respectively, bringing in 22 containers.
SBMA Seaport Dept. general manager Jerome Martinez said that aside from MV Sicilia, three more foreign container ships will be arriving in Subic direct from their origin.
"They are not diverted vessels from the Port of manila as a result of port congestion. They really are to come to Subic as part of their itinerary," Martinez pointed out.
The Another shipping company, the NYK Line, is seriously thinking of establishing a Subic-Singapore route as Singapore will be opening Europe, Africa, and Middle East to exporters and importers.
Earlier, Garcia reported that there is a proposal for a Shanghai-Subic route that will open ports in China on a more direct basis, instead of passing through Kaohsiung.
For these developments, Garcia hopes the cargo volume Subic's container port will grow from 38,000 TEUs last year to more than 70,000 TEUs this year.
In preparation for the expected increase of traffic flow in the Freeport, the SBMA recently hosted a "Traffic Safety Forum", which aimed to find ways to prevent traffic build-up along the main route taken by cargo trucks at the Freeport.
"Let us all cross our fingers that things turn out for the best for Subic," Garcia said, stressing that Subic is the only port on the Western seaboard of the Philippines that now has the capacity to accept a great volume of containers.
He added that if Subic gets congested because of heavy container traffic, it will be a "happy problem" for the SBMA. (30)