ILOILO City – The wait for the redevelopment of the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex (ICPC) here is over.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has finally awarded International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) a 25-year concession contract to develop and operate the port facility.
Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, who also chairs the Infrastructure Development Committee of the Regional Development Council and has been leading the call for the modernization of the port complex, welcomed this good news.
He emphasized that the improvement of port facilities into a modern, efficient and premier gateway not only for Iloilo but for the whole Western Visayas will improve connectivity, paving the way for more international container ship arrivals.
“It will also have a significant impact to the economic growth of the city and the region,” Treñas stressed.
ICTSI received from PPA a Notice of Award for its sole bid to operate the ICPC in accordance with PPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 03-2016 or the Port Terminal Management Regulatory Framework (PTMRF).
It will begin operations of the facility upon contract signing and PPA’s issuance of the Notice to Proceed.
“We are elated and grateful to be entrusted with the redevelopment of the Iloilo port. We recognize the port’s pivotal role in driving Iloilo’s economic and social growth. Our comprehensive proposal outlines significant investments in infrastructure upgrades, cargo-handling equipment, and operational efficiency measures, all aimed at transforming the Iloilo port into a premier gateway,” said Christian R. Gonzalez, ICTSI executive vice president.
After handover to ICTSI, ICPC will be renamed Visayas Container Terminal (VCT).
Gonzales also thanked Iloilo local chief executives for their support.
“We extend our sincere gratitude to Iloilo stakeholders and officials, particularly Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr., Mayor Jerry Treñas and former senator Franklin Drilon, who believe in ICTSI’s vision for the VCT. This is our first project in the Visayas and, as with all our projects, we will do all to make this a success and make Iloilo key to improving the country’s supply chain and competitiveness in global trade,” he added.
Meanwhile, former Ilonggo Senate President Drilon expressed bullishness on PPA’s decision to grant a contract for the redevelopment of VCT to ICTSI.
“With its impressive track record, ICTSI is well-positioned to efficiently manage the ports and address the longstanding congestion issues plaguing our ports, which have deterred potential investors. The decision to partner with ICTSI is a significant step forward in transforming VCT into a modern, world-class port facility and accommodating more domestic and international shipments. This will position Iloilo as a key driver of economic progress in the Philippines,” he said.
Drilon, who has been credited for the transformation of Iloilo and its thriving growth, sees immense potential in the project in terms of unlocking economic opportunities, fostering trade, job creation, business expansion, and regional connectivity.
VCT has 627 meters of operational quay length and 20 hectares of land for container and general cargo storage, warehousing, and other cargo-handling activities.
Upon signing of the contract, ICTSI will focus on improving terminal productivity and service quality by investing in the development and rehabilitation of the terminal infrastructure and the deployment of cargo-handling equipment.
BUSINESS SECTOR ELATED
The business sector, that has earlier conveyed their support to the project through their respective resolutions and statements, expressed elation.
The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILEDF) under its chairman, Engr. Terence Uygongco, for one, commended and congratulated PPA and ICTSI, respectively, for the kickoff of the long-overdue port redevelopment.
“This decision marks a significant milestone in the development of our region’s critical infrastructure, and we are optimistic that ICTSI’s extensive experience and global reputation will contribute to the port’s transformation into a world-class facility,” ILEDF said in a statement.
Reaffirming its support, the foundation believes that the strategic partnership will not only enhance the efficiency of cargo handling but also position Iloilo as a key player in the global trade network.
Aside from ILEDF, other business groups that back the port project are the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Iloilo, Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Iloilo, Inc. (FCCCII), and Iloilo Business Club, among others.
Similarly, the Iloilo City Council and the Iloilo City Local Development Council Executive Committee, through their respective resolutions, have previously called for the expedited privatization and improvement of the said port./PN