South Korea-based Fairbridge Construction Corp. is eyeing to spend P2 billion to expand and modernize Port Irene in Santa Ana town in Cagayan to accommodate large cruise and cargo vessels, the Cagazan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said.
CEZA Administrator and CEO Raul Lambino said the proposed expansion included a reclamation project to fortify the one-kilometer concrete breakwater there and upgrade existing piers and wharves.
Found inside the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, Port Irene is near the biggest developed markets in the Asia-Pacific. Though the port is located along major international shipping lanes, inadequate infrastructure and poor port conditions hindered the realization of its potential.
Raymundo Roquero, CEZA officer-in-charge and deputy administrator for planning, business development and investment, told The Manila Times that the agency is just waiting to sign with Fairbridge a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the project.
He said the company is reviewing the MoU, which may be signed in the next two weeks.
“We already met and discussed the terms of reference to include the dredging of a navigational channel and mooring piers, reclamation for new wharves and yards, upgrading of the breakwater, and the construction of additional piers at no cost to the government in exchange for sea sand to be dredged,” Roquero said.
“The black sand [that]will be recovered will be given to the government or CEZA. [It] will be used to produce battery cells, while the sand to be dredged from the sea will be partly used for reclaimation,” he added.
Fairbridge will reclaim about 10 hectares of new land for port expansion and modernization to accommodate cruise ships and post-Panamax vessels. At present, the pier is so short, so it needs to be longer for big vessels to be able to make an easy turnaround.
The proposed expansion is part of the government’s efforts to further spur growth in the Cagayan freeport.
Earlier, CEZA said the North Cagayan International Airport in neighboring Lallo town will be opened to chartered flights next month.