ANY industrial development plan must consider inter-island connectivity and supply and value chain efficiency.
Shipping and ports are vital links to an archipelagic country like the Philippines.
Thus, the lady chief executive of a leading shipping company in the country is proposing industry clusters built with ports in mind, saying current economic zones had been created with little regard for their proximity or remoteness from shipping ports.
Port operations are especially crucial for an archipelagic country like the Philippines, she said.
“It is important for the government to acknowledge that shipping and logistics are crucial infrastructure needed for the country’s development and are not impediments,” Magsaysay Inc. chief executive officer Doris Magsaysay-Ho said.
At a presentation last November 9, Magsaysay-Ho said the Department of Trade and Industry could adjust its plans to develop industry clusters that would bring economies of scale.
During her presentation “Portropolis” at the 2022 Logistics Forum hosted by the Anti-Red Tape Authority, she said ports, while already highly developed through heavy investments from companies like International Container Services Inc., could further reach their full potential if the DTI:
—attracts an ecosystem of suppliers serving more than one customer
—createe opportunities to invest in production as part of the supply and value chain
—achieves economies of scale that would lead to lower shipping and logistics costs
In early October, President Marcos ordered the creation of a development plan for the maritime and aviation sectors to aid the country’s economic recovery and provide livelihood to Filipinos.
Office of the Press Secretary officer-in-charge Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said the President directed the Department of Transportation to craft the plan during the 11th Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
“President Marcos ordered the crafting of a maritime industry development plan to improve the maritime and aviation sector,” Garafil said.
She added that Marcos also directed the DoTr to keep the country’s ports efficient to attract more cruise ships that would boost tourism.
“The President also ordered to keep the ports efficient in order to cater to more cruise ships docking to our shores to boost our tourism industry,” Garafil said.
Trade and Industry Sec. Alfredo Pascual, according to Magsaysay-Ho, “has talked about clusters”.
“We’re really excited about his idea to create clusters because the most important part about trade, the most important impact on cost of transport is scale,” she said.
The DTI plan to build industry clusters could address the smallness of Philippine trade volume, which keeps mother ships away from domestic ports, according to Magsaysay-Ho.
She said ports in Batangas, Subic, Cagayan de Oro can serve as pilot areas for the industry clusters with some of these becoming economic zones “with incentives to allow the production cluster to successfully compete.”
The lady shipping executive added that while international ports operated by ICTSI and Asian Terminals Inc. in Batangas and Subic are already contributing “valuable revenue to the government,” a “whole-of-government” strategy was necessary to fulfill the full potential of ports.