The International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) plans to revive the Manila-Calamba cargo intermodal system to ease cargo traffic coming in and out of its Manila port.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo revealed yesterday at the Senate hearing on the port congestion that ICTSI plans to set the system going at its own expense, in the wake of the road congestion caused by the truck ban in Manila.
ICTSI, through a wholly-owned unit ICX Corp., used to operate the rail line for containerized cargo but stopped sometime in the early 2000s due to mounting losses of its inland container depot caused by lower volumes.
ICX was formed in 1997 by ICTSI to operate a 25-hectare container depot in Calamba, Laguna linked by a 61-kilometer railway to ICTSI’s Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
The revival of the system would offer an alternative to truck-hauling by road.
At the hearing, Domingo said at the rate the economy is going the country may need to add more port capacities.
But according to Christian Gonzalez, head of Asia Region at ICTSI, the roads are the problem and not the ports.
Gonzalez said in the case of MICT where ICTSI has invested P120 billion, “what drives the capacity is the limitation of the roads” which squeeze the ports.
He added that at the current size of MICT, in terms of yard and berth, it could handle the capacity.
Gonzalez said the planned connector road which links the North Luzon expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon expressway of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) would offer an alternative route for trucks going to parts of the country in the north and provinces in the south. MPIC is also building the Harbor link, connecting NLEX to Port Area, which would eventually be linked to the connector road.
Gonzalez said there is a need to improve the roads like Anda Circle as well as R10 where most of the cargo trucks pass through, going to and from the MICT.
MICT has a capacity of 81,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) at any given time. Some 5,000 TEUs are handled per day.
Written by: Irma Isip