By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, July 28 (PNA) — Six firms have expressed strong interest in the Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project, the first Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) project in Mindanao under the Aquino administration.
These firms which have already purchased bid documents are Anflocor, Netherlands-based global operator APMT, Asian Terminals Inc., French conglomerate Bollore, Singapore-based Portek and San Miguel Corp.
According to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), pre-qualification of the project would begin on Wednesday (July 29).
Submission and opening of bids is meanwhile targeted in the fourth quarter this year while award is targeted in April next year.
The Sasa Port, which is expected to complete its first phases in 2018, will be comparable to the country’s top ports in terms of speed and quality of service.
DOTC said that it will cut down cargo unloading from three days to three hours by using modern ship-to-shore cranes and port operating systems.
In a study conducted by the International Finance Corp. (IFC) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), container traffic in the Davao Region is projected to increase by at least six percent annually over the next 25 years.
DOTC said that without the added capacity of a modernized Sasa Port, there would be a strong chance of shortage in port capacity at Davao bay.
This may affect small-medium banana growers who may not be able to export their bananas. The Davao Region thrives in banana exports, being the second largest banana exporter in the world.
The agency further noted that apart from added capacity, the proximity of the Sasa Port to banana plantations will help growers save at least Php 8,000 in trucking costs per delivery.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, in a statement meanwhile, said that the modernization project showed the enormous potential of the Davao region.
“The construction of a modernized port in Sasa will help meet the growing demand for world-class port services in Davao,” he said.
The project will involve the development of the existing Davao Sasa Port into a modern, international-standard container terminal that improves trade access to Mindanao and the Philippines by providing a dedicated containerized port in the region.
This will in turn support the region’s growing agro-industrial sector. (PNA)