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MNHPI claims construction on track

[ manilatimes.net ] July 11, 2011

THE Manila North Harbour Port Inc. said the construction of the first phase of the multibillion-peso modernization of the country’s busiest port will start in October.

“ We are on track in accordance with the contract. The contract provide for us to make sure we develop in such a manner that we maintain shipping schedule as well. What we are working now is the timeline on how we can expedite certain aspects of it.,” Richard Barkley, MNHPI chief operating officer told reporters over the weekend.

The Philippine Ports Authority earlier approved the P14.5 billion masterplan and design of the Manila North Harbor Modernization Program.

The project costs from P4 billion to P5 billion, Barkley said.

The first phase of the modernization involves the redesign of the 10-pier port into a three terminal facility with much wider beds that would, altogether, enable the port to raise its rate of handling containers, from the five per hour to 28.

Manila North Harbor handles more than 85 percent of the country’s domestic containerized and breakbulk cargo.

“Some areas take a little longer, but it doesn’t mean to say we are not on track to the industry,” Barkley said.

The executive said the company will order two container cranes in October. Each would cost between $14 million and $15 million.

“We expect to deliver the cranes next year,” Barkley said.

He said the PPA has yet to approve the proposed oil bunkering facility.

“We have to look at the program with the PPA. We will be doing it very soon with the PPA,” he said.

Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. owns 65 percent of MNHPI while San Miguel Corporation owns the remaining 35 percent.

SMC had said the North Harbor’s offshore area is an ideal location for an oil tank farm for its unit Petron Corporation.

Raul Santos, PPA assistant general manager for operations said the proposed oil tank farm of MNHPI will need a separate approval from the agency.

For the next 25 years, MNHPI will invest P14.5 billion to operate and manage the port.

MNHPI said the investment will be used mainly for the construction of a modern passenger terminal and other facilities, acquisition of heavy

equipment, dredging operations and acquisition of modern computers to ensure the smooth flow of cargo and passengers.

DARWIN G AMOJELAR
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