THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) explained in detail why the P17-billion modernization of the Davao Sasa Port will bring about more vibrant trade and spur economic and social development across Mindanao.
It said that based on a study conducted by the International Finance Corp. (IFC) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), a world-class Davao Sasa Port is needed to meet the rapid growth of exports over the next few years.
The DOTC made the clarification amid some allegations that the port modernization project could be overpriced.
DOTC Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya said, “Exporters will have more efficient operations and importers will have better logistics. Shipping lines will have quicker turnaround times. Consumers will enjoy a wider range of imported products.”
“With the Philippines being the second-largest banana exporter in the world, and Davao being the top banana grower in the region, we need to pursue the long-term opportunities which will usher in inclusive growth in the south,” he added.
In April, DOTC and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) invited bids for the P17-billion Davao Sasa Port Modernization project.
The project involves the expansion and modernization of the existing port, which includes the construction of a new quay and the installation of cranes, which will greatly boost efficiency, and thereby address port traffic congestion.
The current manual setup of cargo unloading can take up to three days; but once new cranes are in place, unloading time will be drastically cut down to about 3 hours, the DOTC said.
The existing port occupies a total area of 18.1 hectares, including a 4.15-hectare container yard, and 864 container yard ground slots. The port, which can accommodate 800 TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units], has an annual capacity of 550,000 TEUs.
DOTC and PPA were appointed by the DBP and IFC, the private arm of the World Bank Group, to act as transaction advisors for the international competitive public bidding.
“Our project will generate jobs, boost the export industry, and drive consumer costs down,” Abaya said.
Since bulk of the port’s traffic consists of banana exports, the development of Davao Sasa will benefit large-scale businesses as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which in turn could generate more job opportunities.
In the IFC-DBP study, it was found that Davao Region’s container traffic is projected to increase by at least 6 percent annually over the next 25 years, which will amount to 3 million TEUs by 2040.
DOTC’s modernization project for Davao Sasa will boost its capacity to 1.2 million TEUs upon completion of the infrastructure component in 2020.
This will complement both existing and future demand alongside other major ports in the region, namely the Hijo port and the Davao International Container Terminal.
The Davao Sasa Port modernization project is the first public-private-partnership (PPP) project for Mindanao. It is currently in the bidding process, with the submission of qualification documents scheduled on July 29.
The project will be implemented in three construction phases, for completion from 2017 to 2020.