• Execs eye full utilization, development of Subic, Clark

    During the chamber's 53rd General Membership Meeting entitled "Optimizing Your Business with Global Supply Chain Partners" held recently at the LausGroup Event Centre, he noted that the private sector is confident of the two Freeport's potential to provide world-class passenger mobility and cargo distribution network.

    "We propose Subic and Clark to be our country's premier corridor North of Manila. We believe that we are capable of accommodating the anticipated dispersion of economic activities and movement of resources from Metro Manila to the countryside," he said.

    He noted that two areas have all the necessary attributes needed by importers and exporters whether local or international.

    "Home of two international gateways to the Philippinesthe Clark International Airport and the Subic Seaport are both important transportation hubs in the Asia Economic Region. If we were to solve the congestion in Metro Manila, the use of Subic and Clark must be a priority agenda of the government."

    "These two transportation hubs need the utilization, promotion, and support from us, the stakeholders. If we do this, I believe that our vision will also resonate to the new administration," he added.

    Meanwhile, port authorities from the Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) expressed high support with the chamber as they pointed out that they are also aligned with its initiative to spur sustainable economic growth within the region.

    SBITC president and general manager Roberto Locsin stressed that shipping through Subic provides an extra advantage for companies due to its direct access to North and Central Luzon. He also touted the port's other strengths including its competitive rates, flexibility, reliability, and convenience.

    "If you ship in Subic, you can avoid truck bans, NCR holidays, as well as heavy traffic. We have modern and fast access roads. I can assure you that shipping in Subic Port is time and cost-effective. We have new container terminals and eight shipping lines which can ship from Subic to anywhere in the world."

    Locsin furthered that Subic Port has a One Stop Shop (OSS) which promotes seamless transaction flow where customers can toggle between counters to address BOC and SBMA requirements, so that port users no longer have to travel from one office to another to process their documents.

    BOC Port of Subic chief of staff Ranier Ragos, on the other hand, dispels the notion that the performance of the bureau continues to be marred by unprofessional and illegal practices.

    He said that, "We eagerly do our mission as mandated by the law to simplify and harmonize customs procedure, prevent and suppress smuggling and other customs frauds, and facilitate trade in a secure manner."

    Ragos announced that the bureau has already accumulated a total of P1.6 billion revenue collection from Subic, as against its total collection target of P1.5 billion for the month of August.

    "We encourage every company to use the Subic Port in order to sustain our revenue collections. We have very effective Risk Management Process, non-intrusive scanning, and state of the art examination equipment that can ensure your cargos are safe and will arrive on time."

    SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia meanwhile shared his insights regarding the synergic coordination between Clark and Subic, saying that he advices stakeholders to take advantage of the existing transportation hubs in the two Freeport.

    "The reality on the ground right now is that we'd want our region to be moving forward through the interconnections of Clark and Subic Freeport. In the context of decongestion of Metro Manila and Batangas Port, Subic is the logical growth area for the next couple of years. We should move our logistics operations to Subic because all the advantages are here, including its 24 hour operations."

    Garcia then disclosed that the organization has more projects in the pipeline that would benefit not only Subic but its neighboring provinces like Pampanga, Bataan, and Tarlac.

    "We currently have our own investment infrastructure program that includes two major proposals. We are planning to increase the capacity of our container port, from 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 1.2. We are also going to build a new diversion road direct from our seaport, connecting directly to SCTEX that would exit in the Mabiga Exit. Aside from that, we will build another diversion road which will also connect to Mabiga. It will open tourism and industrial development inside Central and Northern Luzon."

    The chairman said that he is calling for unity between the two Freeport so that inclusive growth will be attained throughout the region.

    "We need to come together and come out with a unified pass so that when we present it to the government, it's going to be a regional infrastructure development plan. We have more strength if we go together. We need to make the decision now because the market is there, they are waiting."

    Among the highlight of the event is the panel discussion between Clark and Subic executives, Freeport Zone locators, logistics and supply chain executives, import and export managers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders, on emerging transport issues and its solution.