GEARS UP FOR REBOOT: ICTSI expands Manila port amid COVID

    The MOL Success, the first vessel to dock at the newly completed Berth 7, makes its maiden call to MICT on Jan. 11, 2021. (ICTSI photo)

    International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has completed the berth expansion of its flagship Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) that effectively raises MICT’s annual capacity to over 3.3 million TEUs (twenty-equivalent unit), up 10 percent from the previous 3 million TEU.

    The company did not provide the project cost of the multi-year expansion of MICT, the country’s largest international container terminal which corners about 65 percent of the port of Manila’s cargos.

    “The added berthing capability and yard space will enable the country to easily handle added volume that is expected as the country gears up for an economic reboot following last year’s trade flow facilitation complications.  Moreover, this will enable us to continue performing our tasks as frontliners to move critical goods that are still badly needed,” meanwhile said Christian Gonzalez, ICTSI executive vice president.

    ICTSI expanded Berth 7 by another 150 meters, creating a 600-meter contiguous berth together with the adjacent Berth 6 to accommodate over 8,000-TEU capacity vessels. The two berths currently have five quay cranes, with a design for up to six quay cranes.

    The berth expansion is complemented by the extension of the container yard by about another 5.5 hectares – three hectares designated for laden containers and 2.5 hectares for empties, ICTSI said.

    “This redounds to added capacity for the terminal of an estimated 200,000 TEUs for laden containers and 150,000 TEUs for empties,” it added.

    ICTSI said the additional berth space was completed on time and on budget “despite some limitations caused by the pandemic, and with “strict safety and health protocols implemented throughout the project construction and completion.”

    “This project along with the other projects we are implementing, are part of our commitment to the government and to our port users to ease business activities and transactions at the port.  We will continue to invest in terminal facilities to improve our capacity, infrastructure and environmental footprint to provide the highest level of service,” said Anders Dommestrup, MICT chief executive officer.

    MICT meanwhile plans to acquire next year another eight environmentally friendly hybrid rubber tired gantries (RTG) to add to the 32 hybrid RTGs acquired starting in 2018 under its equipment replacement program.

    Part of the replacement program includes the dismantling of the MICT’s first quay crane this year which will be replaced over the next three years by three new quay cranes all capable of servicing larger vessels of over 12,500-TEU capacity.

    Meanwhile, the MICT is also refurbishing Berths 1 to 5 and their back up areas in preparation for the next 25 years of operation.  These include the installation of an additional 450 reefer plugs for 40 footers expected to be operational by April this year, refurbishment of Berths 1 to 4 by September this year, and the upgrade of the yard infrastructure of Berths 1 to 5 by the end of 2022.

    The MICT will also upgrade the entire terminal this year to the newest and more environment-friendly LED lighting system.  This is expected to eliminate light spills and glare while lowering energy consumption by as much as 75 percent.  The new lighting system will also provide a safer traffic environment with improved lux-levels of 5 to 8 times.

    “By April this year, an additional truck ingress, equipped with optical character recognition, will be operational with additional automation to further improve gate service,” the company said in a statement.

    “The MICT also continues to engage with the Bureau of Customs to continue to improve services in relation to the unimpeded and online release of cargo release to include reduced releasing time from filing of entry and more seamless X-ray and inspection procedures,” it said.

    In 1988, ICTSI won a 25-year plus another 25 years concession to operate the MICT in an international tender.

    MICT handled a total of 560,260 TEUs of cargo in the third quarter of 2020, down 10.85 percent from the same quarter the previous year. Import containers stood at  314,641

    TEUs, down 8.88 percent while export containers hit 245,619 TEUs, down 13.26 percent.
    ICTSI attributed the lower throughput to the decline in trade activities as a result of the

    impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade and lockdown restrictions.