MANILA, Philippines – Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI), the operator of Manila North Harbor, is pumping in close to P200 million to improve the efficiency of the 79-hectare Harbour Centre port complex to serve as an alternative to the congested ports of Manila.
HCPTI chairman and chief executive officer Reghis Romero II said the company is upgrading its facilities and equipment to become a viable alternative to ease the gridlock and the flow of goods in the Port of Manila.
“With the expansion of its existing infrastructure, upgrading of its computer systems, acquisition of new equipment and maintaining its ISO certification, HCPTI is now ready to rise to a new and greater challenge – to ease congestion, modernize so that we can develop more room for growth,” Romero said.
He pointed out that HCPTI is currently embarking on a dredging project to expand the capacity of its port to accommodate more ships and increase the volume of bulk cargoes needed by industries.
To do that, he said HCPTI is fabricating a bulk conveyor system and expanding its storage containment facility to accommodate more cargo.
According to him, the company also provided new cargo handling equipment to ensure better handling capacity:
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“For faster bulk handling, HCPTI has acquired 15 tonner forklifts and more will be delivered within the year. HCPTI is also introducing the latest technological innovations to help its customers track their cargoes as well as ensure smooth operations in the port for both clients and management,” he added.
Likewise, he said additional CCTV and other electronic security devices were installed and a quick response security team is on full-time duty, 24/7.
“We consider it our responsibility to blaze the trail in making port efficiency possible by upgrading facilities and equipment for faster turn-around time, clockwork cargo handling, pilferage-free transfers and storage, A1 security system and highly-professional processes within HCPT; it is our gesture of support in finding solutions (to port congestion),” he said.
Port congestion has caused import growth to dive in May to June this year.
The decrease began in February, when cargo trucks were banned from roads between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. to address mounting traffic problems in Metro Manila.
In a bid to ease the throttled Manila port, the city government opened a “trade lane” into the port area that is always open. The move eased the backlog of containers for loading and unloading – but the congestion woes continued as haulers face long waiting lines for their turn.
Authorities have urged shipping firms to use under-utilized seaports like Batangas and Subic, and opened yards in economic zones where empty containers can be moved.