Davao companies buck P19-B Sasa Port modernization

Subscribe Now December 14, 2015 at 11:02am

Davao businessmen are questioning what they perceive as a rush to bid out the P19-billion modernization project for the Sasa Port under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme despite some issues raised against it.

“There is no need to convert Sasa Port to a container port. The container shipping requirements are already met by the existing private ports,” said Anflocor Management and Investment Corporation President Alexander Valoria.

This private ports include Davao International Container Terminal (DICT), Terminal Facilities and Services Corp. (Tefasco), Sumifru, Unifrutti, Dole/Pacinter and the planned Hijo International Port Services, Inc. (HIPS).

Valoria said 75 percent of foreign containers totaling 358,312, twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) are already using these private ports and the activity in Sasa Port is currently more for the local trade.

The government-hired Hamburg Port Consultants (HPC) conducted an earlier study which assumed that container volume in Davao region will grow at an average of 6.1 percent per year up to 2040 with a high growth rate of more than 20 percent a year (27 percent in 2020) that was frontloaded in the initial years.

“The PPP Project is based on unrealistic projections. The growth assumptions are extremely unrealistic,” Valoria claimed.

From 2013 to 2014, Sasa port container volume declined by 134,504 TEUs (33 percent) and is expected to decline further in 2015.

Davao Integrated Port and Stevedoring Services Corp. (DIPSSCOR), an operator at the Sasa port, said that the current capacity of Sasa stands at 700,000 TEUs.

The yearly volume handled by DIPSSCOR, a subsidiary of the International Container Terminal, Inc. (ICTSI), is only 300,000 TEUs.

“At the DOTC and PPP Center projected growth rate of 6 percent we will take 15 years to bring it to 700,000 TEUs. So why the rush?” asked DIPSSCOR president Jose Manuel M. De Jesus.

Surprised with the PPP’s urgency, De Jesus added that “the port can be constructed in 24 months so why do we have to construct now when we still have excess capacity?”

Meanwhile former Davao City councilor Danilo Dayanghirang noted that “this PPP project does not have the approval of the Davao City Council.” Sec. 27 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines requires the prior approval of the City Council for all government projects that falls within its jurisdiction.

In a Seante hearing last Tuesday, Senate Public Service Committee chair Sergio Osmeña III urged the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center to come up with a cheaper option to modernize the Davao Sasa Port.

Source: mb.com.ph

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