By Henry Empeño / Correspondent
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A Taiwanese firm engaged in port management has expressed interest in investing in this free port to enhance maritime trade and help develop the Port of Subic into a major port destination in Asia.
Chih-Ching Chang, chairman of Taiwan International Ports Corp. Ltd. (TIPC), led an 18-man trade delegation to Subic on Thursday and met with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto V. Garcia to discuss business potentials.
TIPC handles comprehensive port operations in Taiwan and is tasked to enhance operational efficiencies and responsiveness, raise the international profile of commercial ports, and spur domestic regional economic growth. The company supervises the ports of Keelung, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hualien.
Chang said during the meeting that Taiwanese investors are considering to locate in Subic because of its superb location and facilities.
“Subic is the finest commercial and tourism destination in one that we have seen, and the future cargo shipping destination,” Chang said.
Chang added that many Taiwanese shippers are planning to invest overseas because the ports in Taiwan are nearing full capacity. Among the preferred destinations for them is Subic, specifically inside the Taiwanese-managed Subic Bay Gateway Park here, he added.
“Subic must prepare for the future as more cargoes are expected to come here from Taiwan because the port in Taiwan is already full. They are coming to Subic and we, at TIPC can help make that happen,” Chang told Garcia.
Chang’s group also made an ocular inspection of the Subic port. The group included Kuo-Ying Huang, TIPC, EVP and CEO of the Kaohsiung Port; Min-Chuan Yen, director of Kaohsiung District Economic Development Association; and Carol Peng, president of the United Development Corp.
Chang said that in an upcoming meeting, TIPC will convince shipping companies and port users in Taiwan to send bulk or containerized cargoes to Subic. Meanwhile, Garcia said that as more foreign investors express the desire to locate in Subic, he has been spearheading a move to develop idle lands between Subic and the nearby Clark Freeport and convert these for industrial use.
“Subic has no more space to offer and there, along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, we can still develop at least 1,000 hectares for industrial parks that can be offered to investors,” Garcia told Chang.
The SBMA official also told the Taiwanese visitors that Subic has been making headway in terms of transshipment and maritime logistics services, overshooting its 2014 port revenue of P908.6 million by 25 percent, with a P1.16-billion collection last year.
Garcia said Subic’s port has significantly grown in 2015, as it recorded a 123,558-twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) cargo volume in 2015, from just 77,618 TEUs in 2014.
Garcia said he expects a further growth in Subic’s container volume “because many shippers have already experienced the convenience of using the Port of Subic.”