APL to boost operations, seek local port expansion

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MULTINATIONAL container transportation and shipping company American President Lines Ltd.(APL) announced on Friday its geographical expansion plans following its celebration of 100th anniversary in the Philippines.

While the company refused to name local carriers it was eyeing to partner with, Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Sartini told the media during a roundtable discussion at the APL’s office in Pasay that they are in talks with the Department of Transportation on possible expansions for port areas to shift the company’s transshipment services to direct services.

“We see the growth is in Intra-Asia what we want to make sure is we’re connecting Philippines with other markets in intra-Asia. The latest option we are creating is, the latest one we opened [is the port in Chennai, India, and now Manila is connected in India.” He said.

APL has 150 million containers moving around the world, one out of six is in Intra-Asia.

Mr. Sartini, however, added that the country’s poor infrastructure is hindering the country’s shipping trade, despite the company’s confidence in the country’s economic growth, which they see as a good indicator for expansion and investments.

The Philippines is part of the regional supply chain for manufacturing, mainly producing food products such as bananas and pineapples from Mindanao, while most garments and other finished goods such as technological equipment and parts on Manila.

“New services, again, it will be in the intra-Asia scope because for the time being the ports can only handle small vessels so we will continue to grow regional network. It’s a bit of a initiative we’re taking, [but] we’re developing new origins in the Philippines to grow new markets, new export markets for the Philippine goods to be sold in the world.” He added.

From the expansion plan, APL projects a 10% to 15% growth following their expansion.

Global commercial head Indika Dassanayake said that they do not have specific figures for future investments they are eyeing about 200,000 more TEUs in and out of the Philippines with their expansion.

At present, APL also services more than 70 countries across all trades.

In the Philippines, APL calls for six ports in Manila, Subic, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, and Cagayan de Oro, managing exports to Japan, US, Hong Kong, China and Singapore as well as imports from China, Japan, US, Thailand, Korea and Singapore.

APL reported to have 5.0 million+ TEUs carried in 2016. In the same year, APL was acquired by Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement Compagnie Générale Maritime (CMA CGM) group, the largest shipping company alliance.

The company’s Global Pricing Administration Center (PAC) – which handles critical admin support in service contracts, freight rate requests, tenders, tariff implementation and regulatory compliance for APL’s global business — is also based in the country.

“The PAC center that we have here is to support APL service worldwide. It means that today the center is supporting APL with (only) 150 staff and as I indicated (earlier) we are part of a larger group: the CMA CGM group.”

“They have been visiting us a few times and are eyeing to use our center that means more staff and a larger center, no number yet. It’s a new process and we are now reviewing the possibilities.

Mr. Sartini adds that more vessels will mean less costs when it comes to shipping.

APL refused to disclose its revenues. – Anna A. Mogato