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NEWS UPDATES 7 July 2009

Philippines to resume bidding of major ports

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The bidding of Philippines’ two largest ports will resume after two years of suspension due to legal issues, the Manila Times quoted the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) as saying Monday.

In a briefing, Oscar Sevilla, PPA general manager told reporters that the agency is set to rebid the 5.5-billion peso Batangas Port Phase 2 after the Supreme Court issued a decision reducing the compensation for the port complex’s former residents to 1 billion peso.

The Supreme Court had ordered PPA to pay the residents 5,500 peso per square meter for their properties with 12-percent annual interest, in addition to the 300 peso per square meter the agency paid in September 2001 when it expropriated the land.

The order halted the actual bidding of the seaport because this meant PPA had to fork out P14 billion to compensate the 231 Batangas residents.

“With the recent court order, we will resume the bidding of the Batangas Port,” Sevilla said, adding that the winning bidder would be awarded within a year.

The project would transform the Batangas Port into a transit hub to decongest the Manila ports.

Asian Terminal Inc. (ATI) is operating the passenger terminal or Phase 1 of the Batangas Port, while it operates Phase 2 on an interim basis. Rival International Container Terminal Services Inc. had expressed interest in bidding for the Batangas Port.

The port has a 128-hectare area, bigger than the 20-hectare first phase operated by ATI for domestic traffic.

The second phase would be a mix operation of bulk, break bulk and international containerised cargo. The facility could accommodate 7,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).

Sevilla also said that the privatisation of North Habor will be resumed this month after the joint venture of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) and Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. agreed to continue the bidding of the country’s premier domestic port.

Earlier, the PPA informed the joint venture about the amendments to the terms of reference (TOR) for the management of the North Harbor Modernization Project. The bidding is only open to MPIC and Harbour Centre.

The criteria for award include the collection of additional 15- percent cost-recovery adjustment for cargo handling.

The PPA also plans to collect port charges at North Harbor such as usage and wharfage fees, anchorage fees, 10-percent government share on pilotage fees and permit fees for ancillary services.

The winning bidder will operate the port for the next 25 years with provisions for renewal to provide it with reasonable time to recover its investments.

The North Harbor’s Terminal 1 would service roll-on, roll-off container and passenger vessels. Its Terminal 2 would service container and passenger vessels, while Terminal 3 would be allotted to conventional, non-containerized, bulk or break-bulk vessels and passenger vessels.

Under their agreement, Harbour Centre and MPIC would each own a 50-percent stake in the consortium that would run North Harbor.


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