INTERNATIONAL Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) is upgrading its port terminal in Mindanao, with significant improvements expected as early as this year.

Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) said in a statement on Monday it wants to introduce a new terminal operating system and modern equipment to turn it into a premier international gateway in the region.

The ICTSI unit said it has “installed new reach stackers, terminal tractors and trailers, and other cutting-edge equipment that are expected to be completed this year and in the middle of 2020.”

“We aim to help spur economic growth in the countryside, especially now that Northern Mindanao, through the Misamis Oriental economic zone, is poised to become a prime investment hub in the region,” the MCT management was quoted as saying.

MCT noted it expects an increase in shipment volume this year and has therefore ordered additional equipment to support the growth.

“Now that more investments are coming into the Misamis Oriental economic zone, we have to be ready to accommodate the surge in demand,” the port operator said.

MCT currently operates the terminal in the Phividec Industrial Estate at Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. It facilitates both international and domestic shipments that offer container handling services, yard management, reefer monitoring services and water bunkering, among others.

ICTSI posted an attributable net income of $221.5 million in 2018, 22% higher from the $182.1 million it saw the previous year. It is allocating $380 million in capital expenditures this year, a portion of which will be used for new equipment, upgrades and carry-over maintenance works. — Denise A. Valdez