The Batangas Container Terminal (BCT) registered a 254-percent increase in cargo handled as it provided businesses in Region 4A (Calabarzon) a viable option to keep the flow of goods moving, amid trucking and logistics constraints experienced in the ports of Manila.
Managed by Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI), the BCT registered a strong first quarter this 2014, which saw cargoes grow by 194 percent. The Batangas port sustained its momentum into the second quarter as container throughput further accelerated by as much as 254 percent—surpassing its 2013 full-year mark.
In June last year, ATI recorded the utilization rate of the Ba–tangas Container Terminal at a low of 8 percent to 10 percent, an improvement from the 4.2-percent utilization in 2011.
Its exceptional performance since fourth quarter of 2013 to date raised the port’s utilization to 50 percent.
While the significant rise in volume started towards the end of last year, ATI admits Manila’s expanded truck ban contributed to the shift of Calabarzon cargoes via Batangas as dictated by free market forces and customer preference.
The shipments handled by BCT are bound for Calabarzon, the area the Batangas Port was specifically built for. There is an increasing number of international carriers frequenting the Batangas port.
From two regular weekly ship calls, led by MCC Transport’s Intra-Asia 4 (IA4) and Philippine Feeder 4 (PH4) services, eight vessels are now servicing BCT which connect Calabarzon shippers directly to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia and other key regional and global markets.
Just recently, ACX Diamond and ACX Pearl operated by NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) Line successfully discharged containers from Japan in Batangas. Encouraged by strong market response, more international carriers are set to include BCT to their port rotations.
“We have a great product in Batangas Port which is fully equipped with all the industry expertise one could expect from an experienced Filipino port operator backed by global port leader DP World,” ATI Executive Vice President Andrew Hoad said.
The ATI official reiterated that BCT is ready and capable of handling Calabarzon’s shipments given its complement of two modern quay cranes, four rubber-tired gantry cranes and other cargo handling equipment for an annual throughput capacity of 350,000 TEUs (twenty-footer equivalent units), making it more than sufficient to accommodate Calabarzon’s current and future cargo requirements.
With the steadily increasing volume of cargoes arriving at the Batangas Container Terminal, Rep. Raneo Abu of the 2nd District of Batangas has made an appeal for additional personnel to be deployed at the Bureau of Customs office of the BCT.
“As we push for the increased use of the Batangas Port, we also have to make sure we have enough manpower to maintain the efficiency of document processing so as not to discourage future carriers and still ensure that nothing is smuggled illegally through our port,” he said.