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SBMA lowers port fees further
Sep 24, 2014

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has announced that it will charge much lower port fees starting October 1 to attract more port users in line with the agency's thrust to establish Subic as an alternative port.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said in a recent media briefing here that the agency will reduce the harbor fee at Subic's New Container Terminal from $0.046 per gross register tonnage (GRT) to just $0.008 and the berthing fee from $0.0345 per GRT per day to only $0.004.

Garcia said the new rates will be implemented at Subic and the Port of Batangas, both of which were recently declared as extensions of the Port of Manila under Executive Order 172.

The move was also in support of President Aquino's initiative to ease port congestion in Manila, he added.

"In the case of Subic, the new harbor fee will be 83 percent lower than the regular rates, while the new berthing fee will be 88 percent lower," the SBMA official pointed out.

Garcia emphasized, however, that the reduced rates will only apply at Subic's New Container Terminal (NCT) 1 and 2, and not at other ports like the NSD, which is used for break-bulk cargoes.

The NCT-1 is currently being used by regular shippers like Yokohama Tires and HLD Pipes, while NCT-2 has recently been reserved to take in overstaying container vans as an extension of the Port of Manila.

At the same time, Garcia clarified that the reduced rates for NCT-1 and 2 will be effective for the next six months after implementation on October 1.

Following this period, the rates for both Subic and Batangas extension ports will increase to $0.041 for harbor fees and $0.02 for berthing fees.

The fees, however, "will still be lower than the regular rates today," Garcia said.

Because of the rates reduction scheme, the SBMA expects to lose from $10 to $15 million in uncollected harbor and berthing fees during the implementation of the program.

"But we hope to recoup the losses in the long run, as we're also doing this to encourage new lines to come over, as well as to show our appreciation to existing shipping lines that had stuck with Subic in all its lean years," Garcia added.

Garcia also announced that the SBMA is undertaking a proactive marketing program to position the Port of Subic to further attract both shippers and shipping lines. This includes continuous communication with shipping lines, locators and port users; a simplified accreditation process for port-related services; systems integration for real-time monitoring and management of container inventory bound for NCT-1; and enactment of domestic tariff for local companies that ship from Subic to other domestic ports.

He said the Subic agency is also planning a P2.1-billion bypass road to accommodate growing container traffic; a one-stop shop to facilitate release of shipments and minimize corruption; fiber-optic system dedicated for the Subic seaport; a gatepass management system; and a 'greenport' program for Subic Bay.

"We have to strike while the iron is hot", Garcia said, noting that Subic has experienced a spike in container traffic lately.

He added that Subic may get as much as 70,000 containers this year compared to 38,000 last year, as overstaying containers in Manila ports were being moved to Subic for temporary storage. (30)

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