WHILE ports bring employment and help increase overall economic growth, the negative impacts caused by these maritime structures could be greater in developing countries like the Philippines.
In a report titled “The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: Synthesis Report,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said the downside of these ports include air emissions, water quality, soil, waste, biodiversity, noise and urban-congestion problems.
The port of Manila is considered one of the top 125 ports worldwide which is located in the top 20 metro-areas globally. “The presence of a port can lead to urban congestion caused by the hinterland traffic to and from the port area. A large share of freight transport between port and hinterland is by truck, which adds to road-traffic volumes, and often to congestion costs in metropolitan areas, which are struggling with congestion,” the report said.
However, the OECD study also indicates that the current government thrust to redirect port operations to alternate ports in Subic and Batangas as a way to decongest roads and the problematic backlog in the transport of container vans in the ports of Manila, may not necessarily be a sound solution.
“The issue is even more pronounced in developing countries and emerging-port cities. Congestion in urban areas attributable to port activity and traffic heightens the negative economic and environmental impacts of the global shipping trade on metropolitan regions hosting port facilities,” it added.
The report added that costs of road congestion owing to a 6-percent increase in freight volumes in the port of New York-New Jersey could reach up to $0.3 billion and $0.8 billion a year.
With ABS-CBN News
Written by: Cai U. Ordinario