DoTC sheds light on alleged P17B Davao City’s Sasa Port overpriced project

By Lilian C. Mellejor

DAVAO CITY, July 12 (PNA) — The Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) Secretary Joseph Abaya explained alleged overpricing of the Sasa Port Modernization project to P17 billion from the original approved proposal of P5 billion.

Abaya, who was invited by the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCI) to shed light on the controversial modernization project on Friday, said the P17 billion bid cost is only an indicative price that includes financing cost spread in three phases.

The forum on Sasa Port Modernization project aims to enlighten the Davao stakeholders on the proposed project and to serve as venue for clarifications especially there have been several concerns and issues raised on the project bid cost.

The original cost of about P5 billion was approved during then DoTC Secretary Mar Roxas.

Abaya said people must not be confused on the price. He said the P5 billion price is for a port with a capacity good for five years from 2017 to 2020 while DOTC is giving the best port with a capacity good for 25 years at a price of P17 billion.

He said it is the first project of DOTC under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) , emphasizing that the private sector has the expertise rather than the government which is a poor operator.

We tap the expertise of the private sector for efficiency, Abaya said as he assured that a modernize Sasa Port would give the people a more efficient port operation. It involves the expansion and modernization of the existing port which includes the construction of a new quay and the installation of cranes, which will greatly boost efficiency, and thereby address port traffic congestion.

In a presentation by Assistant Secretary Jaime Caringal, DOTC was optimistic that country’s export demand is seen to rise with the modernization of Sasa Port.

DOTC cited that container traffic is projected to increase by at least six percent annually over the next 25 years, which will amount to three million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) by 2040. The study was conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Caringal also pointed out that the project will also be able to boost its capacity to 1.2 million TEUs already upon completion of the infrastructure component in 2020.

This will complement both existing and future demand, alongside other major ports in the region, namely the Hijo port and the Davao International Container Terminal.

Vibrant trade

In earlier report, Abaya described the modernization project as a means to bring about “more vibrant trade” which will spur economic and social development across Mindanao.

“Exporters will have more efficient operations and importers will have better logistics. Shipping lines will have quicker turnaround times. Consumers will enjoy a wider range of imported products,” Abaya said. (PNA)