Exporters to abandon Sasa port if project results in higher rates

A GROUP of exporters has warned its members will look for other ports in case the modernization of the Sasa port will result in higher fees.

“(I)f they would impose a very high cost on rates, we can transfer to other ports as an alternative plan,”

said Ferdinand Y. Marañon, president of the Davao chapter of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport), even as he welcomed the plan of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to modernize the port.

At the weekly “Kapehan sa Dabaw” at SM City Davao, Marañon said the project, whatever is the cost, is long overdue and is “good for the businessmen, exporters and shippers.”

The project, which the DOTC said the estimated cost could go up as high as P18.99-billion, was the result of the department’s feasibility study in 2012. The estimated cost is higher than the PPA estimate, based on its feasibility study two years earlier, of P4 billion.

He said although it is logical for the winning bidder, with the bidding process is still ongoing, to impose increases on fees so it could profit from the project, the amount must be justifiable.

PPA Davao port manager Leonilo E. Miole said earlier in an interview that the other services like stevedoring, arrastre and rental fees may increase by 80% as the services would be provided by the private company that would modernize and operate the port.

The vessel and cargo fees, which are imposed by PPA, will remain the same, Miole assured.

But Antonio T. Dela Cruz, president of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said the project cost was “too huge” compared to the initial P4 billion cost. He said there must be a “thorough explanation” and consultation with the business sector.

To shed light on the issues that hounded on the port modernization, Dela Cruz said they are inviting Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya to come during the forum that the chamber organized on July 10.

The bidding process on the project, he added, has to also be suspended to pave the way for the thorough review on the project.

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