$Harbor Star will deploy 150 TEU barges for ICTSI’s project

December 15, 2016

ICTSI proposes common-user barge, RoRo terminal in Cavite

LISTED port-operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc., (ICTSI) has submitted to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) a proposal to build and develop a common-user barge and roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) terminal in Cavite, in line with efforts to decongest Metro Manila.

ICTSI Senior Vice-President for Asia Pacific Christian R. Gonzalez on Thursday said the first phase of the barge terminal project, the first if its kind in the country, will cost around $30 million and take around seven months to build.

“This project will ease problems on our roads today and not create more problems on the road from the ports. Second, it will also spur development outside of Metro Manila… Instead of finding negative solutions in truck bans and other temporary solutions, we came up with a solution that’s been tried and tested in other parts of the world which is to use our waterways which are not congested, is efficient, will be very cheap and which will essentially allow the development of more economic activities in the province of Cavite,” Mr. Gonzales told reporters in a media briefing in Manila on Thursday. In a separate statement, ICTSI said the proposed Cavite Gateway Terminal (CGT) will support government initiatives to decongest Manila’s streets by reducing truck traffic on roads around the metropolitan area.

The barge terminal will be located within a six-hectare property in Tanza, Cavite. ICTSI said Cavite was identified as the prime location for such a project primarily because of the province’s high economic density — in addition to the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ), which houses over 400 actively operating companies. ICTSI noted Phase 1 of CGT’s development will support a total throughput of 115,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) every year.

“The net effect of trans-shipping cargo from Manila’s ports to Cavite via barge and RoRo equates to approximately 140,000 fewer truck trips plying city roads on an annual basis,” the port giant said.

In a separate statement, the DoTr said it has included the proposed CGT in its priority list. Mr. Gonzales admitted the project was inspired by the success of the barge port in Mongkok, Hong Kong.

“As Hong Kong became congested due to economic development, they’ve realized that in order for the port to continue to expand and the port to continue to succeed, they needed to build more roads and bridges but it will take time, so the solution is to run an extensive barging operation,” he said.

“So we have come up with an idea to link the port of Manila to Cavite by barge, roll on-roll off to a new facility in Cavite. We’ll have an investment of $30 million for the first phase and it will allow us essentially to move approximately 115,000 containers across Manila Bay to Tanza. This has been supported by the local governments, the provincial government and clearly the national government,” he said.

Listed Harbor Star Shipping Services, Inc., the barge operator for the CGT, said it will deploy 150 TEU barges for the project.

ICTSI said succeeding phases of the CGT will support a substantial increase in capacity and will be built to account for projected annual volume increases in the Cavite market.

Apart from decongesting the Manila roads, the barge terminal proposal is also seen to benefit traders and exporters as the rates will be cheaper than trucking, Mr. Gonzales said.

Using barges instead of trucks also lowers fuel consumption, effectively reducing the city’s carbon footprint. — Imee Charlee C. Delavin

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