ASIAN Terminals, Inc. (ATI) inaugurated a new berth at the Batangas Container Terminal (BCT) Monday, which is eyed to increase its annual capacity and eventually help decongest ports in Manila.
Officials of the listed port operator and from the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and Department of Finance (DoF) led the opening of BCT’s Berth 2 yesterday, which it said will almost double BCT’s capacity to about 500,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) from the previous 350,000 TEUs.
“With this additional berth, the Batangas port complements the Port of Manila. This will spare Manila the curse of congestion experienced lately. This will provide a good alternative gateway to our rapidly expanding trade,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said at the program in Batangas port.
“This will service domestic routes to the southern islands, as well as handle cargo to and from the regional hubs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia and our other global trading partners,” he added.
ATI earlier announced its capital expenditure this year is set at $300 million (about P15.6 billion), where more than P2.5 billion will be spent in expanding BCT.
The terminal currently has four quay cranes, eight rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, four container stacking equipment and 26 internal transfer vehicles — all part of ATI’s continuing berth and yard space expansion that started in 2017.
“We have embarked on an aggressive journey to ensure the success and sustainability of Batangas Port. As part of the Philippine government’s Build, Build, Build program, we have extended Batangas Container Terminal’s quay length, increased yard space, doubled equipment in the berth and the yard, and effectively increased capacity to over half a million TEUs annually,” ATI Executive Vice-President William Wassaf Khoury Abreau said.
Officials from Dubai’s DP World, a strategic shareholder in ATI, said the company is bullish on the operations of the Batangas terminal.
“We are very happy with the way the government has been running this country and the way things are becoming very efficient. This is very important for us. This encourages us and gives us confidence to invest more,” DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said.
ATI posted an attributable net income of P2.9 billion in 2018, up 16% due to record-high cargo volumes handled at its terminals in Manila and Batangas. The company recorded a throughput of almost 250,000 TEUs last year, up 26% from in 2017. — Denise A. Valdez