• Creating connections

    International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) is at the forefront in providing multimodal solutions to better serve importers and exporters. As the Philippines' leading port operator and developer, ICTSI ensures the seamless facilitation of trade in the country's key global trading gateways. In Luzon, where some of its most important terminals are located, ICTSI constantly strives to answer the export and import needs of its customers and the broader Filipino business community, especially now that the country's economy is expanding at an astonishing rate. The company has committed to do its part in providing a whole suite of logistics facilities with its flagship Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) at the center, Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC] in the north, and the Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal (LGICT) and Cavite Gateway Terminal [CGT] in the south. The MICT, which mainly handles international containerized cargo, is the country's largest, most modern and efficient seaport terminal in terms of volume and capacity. MICT primarily serves Metro Manila, which remains the country's leading local market. Road congestion in Metro Manila, however, is one major hurdle in the logistics chain. To help the government in easing road traffic and to rationalize the flow of truck movement in and out of the port, ICTSI rolled out the Terminal Appointment Booking System or TABS, an electronic platform for booking containers in Manila's major international ports. "TABS is a result of the collaboration between Manila's local government and port operators. Today, all transactions are logged and booked. You have healthier utilizations and faster turnaround of cargo. It's a very big success," said Christian Lozano, commercial director of MICT. SBITC, on one hand, is the gateway for the growing economies of northern and central Luzon, with locators of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone optimizing SBITC, which is right in front of their doorstep. "Businesses in Pampanga, Bataan, Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union, Benguet and llocos provinces now have a gateway terminal in SBITC. We can reach these growing urban centers and allow trade to come in and out of these markets faster with greater economies of scale," said Robert Locsin, president of SBITC. In the south, CGT, a rollon, rolloff [RoRo] barge terminal is being constructed in a sixhectare property in Tanza, Cavite, in cooperation with the Department of Transportation. Commencing commercial operations next year, CGT will directly link Cavitebased importers and exporters to the MICT, expediting the movement of cargo to and from MICT and Cavite, home to major export processing zones. "Listening to what the market has been saying, being smart about our experiences globally, when we look at intermodal options, ICTSI management decided that a barge terminal that links to the ports of Manila was absolutely necessary," said Mr. Locsin. CGT, the first of its kind in the country, is what the business community in that part of Luzon has long needed mainly because of the challenges they face transporting cargo to and from their warehouses and the Manila ports. "The creation of a barge / RoRo terminal, that is integrated with the international ports in Manila is critical because it provides an alternative mode of transporting cargo via our waterways. CGT is being built not only to support the importers/ exporters that have established operations in the Cavite processing zones but also to back our government's initiatives to decongest our city streets," said Justin Tolentino, ICTSI AsiaPacific commercial director. He noted how the local government of Cavite has thrown its weight behind the CGT: Besides the good that its going do to the economy, they also see the environmental and social benefits such as lower fuel consumption leading to a significant decrease in carbon emissions and the employment opportunities it will provide their local residents." On top of taking full advantage of commercial waterways, ICTSI has also pioneered an inland container depot, LGICT: ICTSI's response to the growing trade in the country's capital region and a regional logistics hub of MICT in the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Aurora and Quezon. "Practically, the idea of the Laguna Gateway is not only to support the entire industry," said Carmela Rodriguez, general manager of LGICT. "This is something we are excited to offer to the market," she added. Movement of goods from LGICT, which started operations in 2015, to MICT, and vice versa, is going to vastly improve once ICTSI's multibillionpeso project with a railway company, a rail freight transport system, is finished. Last March, the Bureau of Customs certified LGICT as an authorized OffDock Customs Facility, enabling the terminal to offer faster and seamless services to businesses and industries in Southern Luzon, especially in economic zones that are using MICT as their trading gateway. "It's key that everyone's aligned," Mr. Lozano said. "We've made it very clear that ICTSI is doing this to improve its services to its customers but a lot of it is also to give support to the directions of government." ICTSI is working closely with the government in accomplishing its goals. "We listen to our government partners, we work with them thoroughly, both on regulatory matters governing the processes around port operations and understanding the economic viability of where we operate," Mr. Locsin added. Mr. Tolentino, meanwhile, emphasized that continuous engagement between the government and a private enterprise like ICTSI is important: "We talk about what their initiatives are and we collaboratively find solutions to support what the government is trying to achieve."