INTERNATIONAL Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) unit in Zambales has opened a new service that will expand its connectivity to South China and Vietnam.

“The service offers a good opportunity to Northern and Central Luzon traders, who can leverage the increased connectivity to markets in Vietnam and China,” said Henry Dungca, terminal manager at Subic Bay International Terminals (SBITC), in a statement.

Last month, SBITC welcomed the first service made by South China Vietnam Philippines (SVP), which was operated by Emirates Shipping Line (ESL) — one of the operators of SVP together with ASEAN Seal Line and Pacific International Line.

The feeder service makes weekly calls to Subic and is expected to cater to the growing requirements of South China and Vietnam.

“It also highlights the free trade agreement between the Philippines and other Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership members including Vietnam, which faces a growing demand for its agriculture and manufacturing exports,” ICTSI said.

SVP’s service rotation passes through Shekou, Nansha, Xiamen, north Manila, Subic, Xiamen, Shekou, Nansha, Ho Chi Minh, and back to Shekou.

“With the addition of the SVP service and ESL, SBITC now caters to more than a dozen weekly services and major shipping lines,” ICTSI said.

In the first quarter, ICTSI posted $154.61-million attributable net income, an 8.7% increase from the $142.28 million in the same period last year.

Volume from its Asia operations went up by 21.6% to 1.62 million twenty-foot equivalent units in the first three months of the year from 1.33 million units last year.

According to its quarterly report, the increase in volume was partly due to the improvement in trade activities at its terminals, including the one in Subic. — Justine Irish D. Tabile