Japan-based Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line made its first direct route from Kaohsiung to the Port of Subic, the Philippines, joining other major shippers in using this free port as an alternative to the congested Port of Manila.
NYK’s MV Jakarta Towers, a 688-gross tonnage Liberian-flagged cargo vessel, made its first port call at Subic on Saturday, November 29, and docked at the New Container Terminal (NCT)-2 after sailing a day-and-a-half from Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
NYK Group National Sales Marketing and Outports manager Mary Grace Golez said that the port call is part of the ad hoc operation of NYK in Subic and will serve as basis of assessment for opening a full operation here or have Subic only as an alternate port.
“It all depends on the outcome of the assessment after several port calls. But we hope everything would go well,” said Golez.
She added that should the assessment go well, the new route (Kaohsiung-Subic-Singapore) would open Port of Subic to major transshipment ports that connect to the rest of the world’s trade routes, especially in ASEAN countries, Africa, Europe, and North America.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia earlier announced that a number of shipping companies in Southeast Asia are starting to consider using the Port of Subic after experiencing long delays in unloading and loading of containerized cargos in Manila.
This was attributed to the congestion at the Port of Manila, which forced cargo vessels to wait off Manila Bay for at least a week before docking and unloading cargos.
Because of this, President Aquino through Executive Order 172, has classified the Port of Batangas and the New ContainerTerminal-2 in Subic as extensions of the Port of Manila.
Golez noted, however, that the Port of Batangas, which is nearer Manila, was already congested a month after the issuance of EO 172.
Early this month, China-based SITC Container Lines (Phils.), Inc. also opened a direct route from Xiamen, China, to Subic with its container ship MV Sicilia making its maiden voyage to Subic and unloading 22 containers at NCT-2. (30)