Cavite barge terminal seen opening by end-September

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THE International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said the Cavite Gateway Terminal (CGT) may finally be used by end-September, months later its original target because of the three typhoons that affected the area in the past months.

After an inspection of the construction work by Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, other DoTr officials and representatives of International Container Terminal Services, Inc., the government said the barge terminal’s original scope of work is now 99% complete.

ICTSI, the proponent of the terminal, earlier said the project is part of the company’s $380-million capital expenditure this year. It said in June the target opening of the CGT was on the third week of that month.

“The project is completed, and we have successfully simulated the receipt and delivery of containers via barge and trucks. We are just confirming date of formal inauguration,” ICTSI said in an e-mail interview on Tuesday.

DoTr Communications Director Goddess Hope O. Libiran told BusinessWorld the delay was because “weather has not been very cooperative in the past few months.”

Ms. Libiran explained, “There’s a total of 98 caissons to be installed as foundations of the CGT pier. 61 have already been installed. There are 37 left for installation.”

Caissons are watertight chambers used as foundations of bridge piers, she said. For the CGT, the caissons are being used on the hard stand to prepare the future expansion of the barge terminal, which is 45% complete.

The CGT, also called the Cavite barge terminal, will be the country’s first roll-on, roll-off barge facility once completed. It will cater to cargo trans-shipments from Manila to the province of Cavite.

“The CGT was designed to expand our port capacity, and reduce traffic congestion in Metro Manila by supporting an annual capacity of 115,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) translating to 140,000 fewer truck trips travelling on city roads per year,” the DoTr said.

The listed port operator posted a 15% fall in net income during the first quarter at $44.1 million. It said in a regulatory filing the weakening of the peso affected its operations in countries outside the Philippines.

Shares in ICTSI went up by 60 centavos or 0.68% to close Tuesday’s trading session at P89 each. — Denise A. Valdez