ICTSI plans to revive Iloilo port development proposal

LISTED port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) said it plans to revive its proposal to develop and operate the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex as part of its goal to help the government in improving the country’s port network.

“We want to push that again, for sure,” ICTSI Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer Christian Razon Gonzales told BusinessWorld in a recent interview.

“We’re waiting for guidance from the government whether it will be a public tender done by the Philippine Ports Authority or they will welcome an unsolicited proposal,” he added.

The company is also interested in developing ports in other regions, including in Mindanao.

“I think doing something in General Santos City would be interesting and, of course, all regions in the Philippines depending on what the government is going to push in terms of economic agenda for these regions,” Mr. Gonzales said.

“If we saw that as an opportunity to put a port there or to help develop a port there whether with national or local government, then why not” he added.

ICTSI, which is in the business of developing, operating and acquiring container terminals, was granted the unsolicited proposal for the development of the Iloilo commercial port complex in the previous administration.

The company had initially estimated an investment of over P5 billion to fully develop the Iloilo port complex. It had also proposed to develop the Port of Dumangas in the same province.

“Overall, the company hopes to be able to assist the port authority in its goals to upgrade the Philippine port network in the hope of facilitating inter-island and international cargo movement,” ICTSI said in a statement posted on its website.

“An integral part of this investment will include the dredging and deepening of the port itself and the channel to allow the direct entry of new generation, international vessels,” it added.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said in its latest report that there is a need for increased investment in maritime supply chains, including ports, shipping fleets, and hinterland connections, to boost sustainability and prepare the country for future global crises.

The Philippines was one of many countries that experienced serious vessel delays and container shortages during the pandemic. — Arjay L. Balinbin