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Monday, July 22, 2024

Catalyst for economic boom in Western Visayas

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“The modernization of the Visayas Container Terminal represents a strategic investment in the economic future of Western Visayas”

The Visayas Container Terminal in Iloilo City is undergoing a significant transformation under the management of International Container Terminal Services Inc.

This modernization aims to enhance the terminal’s infrastructure and operational capabilities, acting as a catalyst for regional economic integration within Western Visayas and fostering greater intra-regional trade and cooperation.

The Visayas, known for its robust agricultural and fisheries sectors, has historically faced limitations due to inadequate port facilities.

The modernization of VCT addresses these limitations by transforming the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex into a more efficient and competitive trade gateway. ICTSI’s investment in the terminal includes the introduction of advanced cargo-handling equipment, expansion of operational quay length, and enhancement of storage and warehousing facilities.

These upgrades are expected to streamline operations, reduce turnaround times for vessels, and increase the terminal’s handling capacity, accommodating the growing volume of trade in the region, which is essential for its economic prosperity.

The VCT’s strategic location, connecting maritime trade with land-based transportation networks, positions it as a critical hub for the movement of goods within Western Visayas.

The Philippine Ports Authority has awarded ICTSI a 25-year concession to manage and upgrade the terminal, reflecting a long-term commitment to the region’s economic future.

The economic implications of the VCT upgrade are no less than game changing.

According to 2023 PPA data, cargo throughout in the Visayas reached 38.1 million metric tons last year, accounting for approximately 19 percent of the total cargo volume across the country.

When the upgraded VCT is in full operation, it is anticipated to handle an increased volume of 100,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and 2 million metric tons of non-containerized cargo annually.

This capacity expansion is expected to attract more international container ship arrivals, thereby enhancing the region’s trade capabilities.

The modernization of VCT is expected to reduce trade costs and eliminate bottlenecks through improved port efficiency and capacity, driving the development of regional value chains and production networks.

This is essential for fostering stronger intra-regional trade and cooperation, as businesses within the region will be able to move goods more efficiently and at a lower cost.

Envisioned to become a logistics powerhouse for the entire Western Visayas region, the new VCT will provide integration of the port with road and rail infrastructure and further enhance connectivity, making it easier for businesses to access the port and ship their goods.

This improved connectivity is crucial for the economic integration of the Western Visayas and will enable efficient movement of goods within the region and to international markets.

Moreover, the jobs and multiplier effect of linked industries that will be generated because of the VCT will be tremendously driving economic growth not only in Iloilo but across the entire Western Visayas.

ICTSI’s investment plan for the VCT also incorporates sustainable practices and green technologies. Initiatives such as energy-efficient cargo handling equipment, comprehensive waste management systems, and robust environmental impact mitigation measures will be implemented to minimize the port’s ecological footprint.

This commitment to environmental stewardship ensures that the economic benefits of the port modernization do not come at the expense of the environment.

In addition to sustainability, ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment is paramount for facilitating smooth trade operations. ICTSI will prioritize the implementation of advanced safety and security protocols at the VCT, including state-of-the-art navigation systems, vessel traffic management technologies, and robust port security infrastructure to safeguard operations and protect stakeholders.

The VCT concession exemplifies a successful model of public-private collaboration in port development. ICTSI’s industry expertise and financial resources, combined with the Philippine Ports Authority’s oversight and regulatory framework, create a synergistic partnership that can drive national economic growth through private sector participation.

This collaboration leverages the strengths of both sectors to ensure the successful development and operation of the port.

The modernization of the Visayas Container Terminal represents a strategic investment in the economic future of Western Visayas and aligns with the government’s broader economic goals.

By enhancing the region’s maritime trade capabilities, improving connectivity, and unlocking the economic potential of its key industries, the upgraded VCT is expected to drive regional economic growth and development, heralding a new era of prosperity for the Visayas and the nation as a whole.

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