Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Global Container Terminal Operator Expands on Home Territory

Much Criticised Company Permitted to Develop Flagship Facility
Shipping News Feature
PHILIPPINES – International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), a company that has of late been heavily criticised by transport unions for its labour practices at its facilities around the world, has been given the go ahead for capacity improvements at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), the port operator's flagship operation, by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

Foremost among these improvements is the first phase construction of Berths 7 and 8, set to begin on October 15. The second phase, to begin in February 2019 pending final approvals, will add full back up area for the future berths 9 and 10.

The berth expansions, all with a controlling depth of 13.5 to 14.5 metres, will further strengthen MICT’s capacity to service the world’s larger box ships and the increasing volume that comes with them, explains Christian Gonzalez, ICTSI Global Corporate Head:

“On top of our commitments, the construction of these berths is our response to the need for an increase in capacity and increased productivity over the longer term. We also need to accommodate system changes, such as a steady increase in vessel size, the consolidation of major shipping players, and the introduction of rail services.”

Along with the berth expansion will be the addition of yard space with the construction of the back-up area for berths 9 and 10. When completed, this additional area will give the terminal substantial flexibility to deal with the increasing impact of weather related issues and changes in the regulatory environment.

Complementing these capacity improvements are the upcoming arrivals of 16 new rubber-tired gantries (RTG) in 2019, with the first eight RTGs available by April next year. At the quay, two more super post Panamax quay cranes are expected to be delivered by next year. Three quay cranes were delivered earlier in the year and are already operational.

The construction of berth 7 is part of ICTSI’s contractual obligations to upgrade, expand and develop the MICT under its 25 year contract with the PPA. For 2018 alone, the ICTSI Group has allocated more than US$380 million for capital expenditure, including the expansion of the Manila flagship.

As part of ICTSI’s pitch towards greater inter-modal connectivity, international cargo bound for domestic ports and domestic goods bound for the international market need not go outside of the port zone through a direct connection between the MICT and North Port, the country’s premiere domestic gateway. Businesses using the Port of Manila now have flexible options for their containerised cargo needs through a dedicated container freight station (CFS) at North Port, and a logistics centre within MICT.

From MICT and NorthPort, transfers are now possible through the Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal in Calamba and via barge and truck through the Cavite Gateway Terminal in Tanza.

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 levelling accusations of murder committed in order to restrict union activity.