International Container Terminal Services Inc.’s (ICTSI) Subic Bay Freeport unit, Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), in partnership with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC), recently opened a one-stop shop (OSS) to fast-track documentary transactions in Subic Bay’s container terminals.
Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras led the launch of the OSS, together with SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia and SBITC General Manager Roberto Locsin.
Located inside the New Container Terminal 1, the OSS is next to the administration offices of the SBITC and several satellite offices of shipping lines.
With the OSS, port users can expect shorter document and cargo processing times, as the SBITC, BOC and SBMA are housed in one location. Port users no longer have to travel from one office to another to process their documents.
“Through the OSS, what we want to achieve is a seamless flow of transactions to the benefit of our customers. The facility practically solves the problem of having to go to different locations within the Freeport zone to follow up on transactions,” explains Mr. Locsin.
A four-day dry run, which started mid-April, showed promising results in terms of improving overall processing efficiency. The average processing time has been effectively reduced to around four hours provided that pertinent document requirements are complete and queues are not long. Under previous circumstances, port users had to spend from half to a full day to complete the processing of their documents.
“The dry run went smooth and we are happy with the feedback we got. Just imagine the convenience: out of the 16 steps before you get your container out of the terminal, 14 of them can be processed in the OSS facility. After taking a good first step towards improving things here in Subic, the next step is to get the word out and get more customers to come to us,” he adds.
The OSS is also part of SBITC’s initiative to lure potential customers to Subic. With its competitive rates compared with other ports in Luzon, Subic also offers flexibility, reliability and convenience. With the BOC and SBMA under one roof, coordination has become relatively easier resulting in faster resolution of issues.
Almendras underscored Subic’s role as a trading gateway to northern and central Luzon and in supporting the container market of the Port of Manila. “The government needs to add port capacity outside Metro Manila to address the country’s growing container volumes, and Subic Bay has so much potential because of its existing port, infrastructure, roads and electricity,” he said.