Leyte port eyed as regional transshipment hub

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TACLOBAN CITY: The Regional Development Council (RDC) has tagged the seaport in Babatngon, Leyte as the future transshipment hub in Eastern Visayas, approving a proposal to conduct a feasibility study for the wharf.

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Aside from feasibility study, experts from the Philippine Ports Authority will also come up with a master plan of the Babatngon Port as Eastern Visayas’ regional transshipment hub.

The study will kick off within the first quarter of the year and it will be completed within 2017.

The proposed development is not just a simple port, said Oliver Cam, RDC private sector representative for business. Part of the proposal is to build a cargo terminal holding and warehousing facility.

“The classic example of what we see now in both Tacloban and Ormoc ports in Leyte is that the cargo vans are outside the port utilizing part of the road or part of another area, which are not designed to have that much capacity in terms of the cargo van holding, loading, and transporting capability equipment,” Cam told PNA.

The overall feasibility study will take account of where and how large the holding, loading and warehousing facilities are needed for cargo vans and other related cargos.

“The proposed port development will also be a part of the Tacloban North Agro-industrial economic zone. Thus, it will facilitate better exchange of incoming inputs and outgoing outputs of the economic zone,” Cam explained.

A comprehensive feasibility study is also being pushed for the ports of Naval, Catbalogan, Calbayog, Leyte Integrated Development Estate in Isabel town, and Ormoc City.

“The goal here is not to marginalize the other existing ports but to optimize the traffic among our ports in the region so that all of us will benefit from this comprehensive feasibility study,” Cam said.

The RDC approved the proposal during its full council meeting on Dec. 20, 2016.

Babatngon town is located in the northern part of Leyte Island and along the shore of Carigara Bay. The town is just 22 kilometers north of this city.

The town’s port has been eyed by experts as a regional hub considering the difficulty of big ships to reach the regional capital. Large Tacloban-bound vessels have to traverse the narrow San Juanico Strait that separates Samar and Leyte Islands to reach the regional center.

PNA

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