Thursday, April 11, 2019

Container Freight Port Operator Opens New Terminal Abroad Whilst Praising Home Authorities  

South American Terminal Comes on Stream as Manila Unblocks Box Log Jam

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Shipping News Feature ARGENTINA – PHILIPPINES – The Philippine-based port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), has announced the official opening of TecPlata, the new container terminal located in Argentina's Puerto de La Plata, which began operations with the arrival of Jacarandá, a vessel from the fleet of Log-In, a Brazilian shipping line which recently signed an agreement with TecPlata.

The arrival of the vessel, which has an overall length (LOA) of 218 metres and a cargo capacity of almost 38 tonnes, marked the start of Log-In’s fortnightly operations at the terminal. Bruno Porchietto, TecPlata CEO, commented:

“This a first step for the company, and we firmly believe that this will pave the way for new agreements with more operators to maximise our current installed capacity of 450,000 TEUs. The terminal may also be expanded to twice its existing capacity to over 1 million TEUs.”

ICTSI says that TecPlata, an investment of US$450 million, is the most modern port in Argentina equipped with the latest infrastructure, equipment and computer systems. It is located only 60 kilometres from Buenos Aires, and has a total area 41 hectares, 25 hectares of which have been allotted for containers. Referring to the start of TecPlata’s operations, Porchietto said:

“This was a long-awaited milestone and, from hereon, our terminal will stand apart for its efficiency, competitiveness and transparency.”

Meanwhile back on home turf ICTSI has welcomed concrete steps taken by the Philippine government to clear Manila ports of overstaying cargo. The company praised the efforts of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Department of Transportation (DoTr), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to resolve the issue.

Roughly a month after the PPA issued an ultimatum for overstaying containers, yard utilisation at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) rapidly decreased by about 20%, from 90% in January this year to 70% at the start of April. This despite higher volumes handled, especially in March where MICT handled a record monthly volume. The terminal was able to accept almost double the number of empty containers it was receiving, freeing up trucks in the process which, in turn, resulted to more import pull outs.

Shipping lines have now been able to bridge the gap in achieving their weekly empty container evacuation targets and import dwell time has likewise been reduced from 11 days in January to 6.6 days at the start of April. This has resulted in zero ship queues compared to December’s peak season. ICTSI also continues to transfer more overstaying laden containers to Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal (LGICT) in Calamba.

ICTSI has of late been heavily criticised by transport unions for its labour practices at its facilities around the world. Several international unions, including the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), have condemned ICTSI for continuing to lower the standards in the global port industry, accusing the company of intimidating and exploiting its workforce with issues concerning wages, working conditions and employee safety, with deaths reported in the company’s facilities and even accusations of murder from some quarters allegedly committed in order to restrict union activity.

Photo: Log-In’s Jacarandá berthed at TecPlata

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