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Subic Bay Freeport backs SBMA waiver of $200 fee

Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), a unit of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), operating the container terminals of the Subic Bay Freeport, supports the waiver of the $200 or P10,000 accreditation fee by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for new logistics firms that will transact and do business at the Freeport.

SBITC lauded SBMA’s move allowing ship agents, freight forwarders, brokerage firms and truckers an “open window access for container port-related businesses” in the Freeport.

From October 18 to December 31, SBMA waived the accreditation fee for the first 80 new business entrants and the first 20 accredited entities due for renewal provided that these firms guarantee to bring in at least one container within one month from filing of application or renewal of SBMA’s accreditation certificate.

“We support and laud this SBMA initiative of waiving the Freeport’s accreditation fee. Not only will this foster brisk business in Subic, it will further position Subic as a key logistics hub in the country with new logistics firms expected to hold their offices and operations in the Freeport,” Robert Locsin, SBITC general manager, said.

“We thank SBMA chair and administrator Atty. Wilma T. Eisma for this accreditation fee holiday. On our end, we assure SBMA and the Subic logistics firms—existing, new and upcoming—of ICTSI’s brand of world-class operations and services at the New Container Terminals (NCT) 1 and 2, including our new container freight station (CFS) facility. You have an international trading gateway that has access to global markets,” he added.

Eisma issued the waiver to showcase and broaden industry awareness on the use of the Freeport’s container terminals, including the terminals’ increase in container traffic and port utilization.

The move is also seen to support the Port of Manila by easing container flow and road traffic in and around Manila’s port areas.

The accreditation fee holiday is also in line with Atty. Eisma’s 10-point agenda that would further small and medium enterprises, including supply chain businesses, in the Freeport, and as SBMA’s contribution in the promotion of inclusive business.

“We are one with Atty. Eisma in the promotion of inclusive business strategies in Subic. We need to provide added value to stakeholders and businesses in the supply chain by assuring them that Subic is the best place to do business: we have an efficient, world class port, faster processing times with our one-stop-shop, a CFS inside the terminal to assist a seamless supply chain, the latest in port technology, and innovations in the nation’s port system. Our efforts will have a direct impact on Subic, and even on the national economy: market competitiveness and profitability for enterprises, more jobs and lower costs of goods for the consumer,” Locsin said.Recently, SBITC further improved local transshipment service in Subic by introducing an innovation in the country’s port system.

In partnership with Cebu Sea Charterers, Inc. (CSC), SBITC launched a container barge service connecting Subic to the ports of Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.

The barge service is seen to revitalize inter-island trade, and to provide businesses in the Visayas and Mindanao an alternative gateway for international trade through Subic.

“This barge service will make trade more efficient, and opens more opportunities for shippers located outside of Luzon to connect to more global destinations and providers through Subic. We are made up thousands of islands, of which only a few are accessible for the global destinations. Imagine the export potential of our country if we are able to maximize the vessel connectivity in SBITC, light vessel traffic in Subic, and the berth flexibility of light craft transport in untapped islands,” Locsin said.

The weekly service, which utilizes a 150-TEU roll-on and roll-off land craft transport vessel, makes direct calls from Subic to Cebu, and from Subic to Cagayan de Oro, and vice versa. Cebu serves as a transshipment hub for Bacolod, Iloilo, Samar, and Leyte, while Cagayan de Oro serves as the gateway for Mindanao.

“We will be opening up new opportunities as we coordinate more with regulators in these ports to ensure all cargo movements are above board and can move efficiently and legally. Hopefully, the service will create a new product to facilitate the growth of the rest of the country, and connect them to the rest of the world,” he added.

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