International business groups Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) urged the government to “adopt a firm policy” that would transfer main shipping transactions to Subic and Batangas ports as the Manila port areas are already suffering from “congestion.”
Mainly through American and European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, the group passed conclusions to the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means on the recent logistics dialogue from Arangkada Philippines and Assessment on Infrastructure meet of the foreign business groups.
“[One of the recommendations to the government was to] adopt a firm policy to gradually shift international container shipment volume from Manila (South Harbor and MICT) to Batangas and Subic,” the JFC said.
In the business group’s assessment of the ports and logistics in the country, the JFC said that the government “has not acted upon” their long time request to mobilize more on the Subic and Batangas ports to improve the logistics in the country.
The JFC said that the volume of shipments to Subic and Batangas would only follow “if the industrial zones of Clark and southern areas of Manila are master planned to attract investment in industry and manufacturing.”
“There is a misconception that business always follows infrastructure. Instead, transport follows business as seen by the massive Chinese hub ports like Shenzen. At present, there is still resistance from customers to pay added trucking costs to Batangas and Subic,” the JFC said.
Because of the constraints, foreign logistics member-firms of the JFC were looking at possible solutions improve Manila port efficiency to contribute to business and trade to the Philippines
“JFC logistic firms are in contact with the major port operators seeking win-win solutions to reduce cost and increase efficiency in the Manila port, addressing congestion, truck-bans and route prohibitions. They are also looking at the lack of support infrastructure in form of easy access to the ports including Batangas,” the group said.
“The intent is to draw up short-term, mid-term, and long-term solutions,” it added.
In terms of long term, the JFC is looking at not only using more of the Batangas and Subic ports, but also to carefully assess and evaluate impacts if Manila ports are to be expanded and developed. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO