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Int’l shipping liner to add Legazpi in regular port call

By Ernesto Delgado


LEGAZPI CITY --- A shipping line operating in Asia and North Africa has expressed interest in including Legazpi Port in Albay containerized and bulk cargo route, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Thursday.


Customs Collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte said the Bangkok-based Regional Container Lines (RCL) is expected to begin operations in March provided the market is ready.


This development is expected to not only boost trade opportunities between the Bicol region and Asian nations but will also enable the port to double its revenue from the previous year, which was P1.8 billion, with the start of containerized vessel operations, Barte said.


Department of Trade and Industry Regional Director Dindo Nabol said that Bicol’s exporters and importers will benefit from the containerized vessel, especially those in the food processing, handicraft, wearable and homestyle, minerals, and other industries.


“The direct international service will also significantly reduce logistics costs, making goods more affordable for consumers,” Nabol added.


Barte said the opening of this service is also expected to boost Bicol's economy, leading to an increase in the region's national tax allotment.


Currently, Bicol processes most of its imports and exports through other customs offices due to the absence of containerized shipment facilities.


This has resulted in the loss of duties and taxes that could have been beneficial for the region, Barte said.


Stephen Agnas, terminal supervisor of the Philippine Ports Authority, said the Legazpi Port's data from last October showed that Bicolano importers imported 149 containers.


At the stakeholders' meeting held last Wednesday, Barte reported that there were 50 containers pledged for export and 300 containers pledged for import.


These pledges have enabled the government to secure a commitment from RCL to launch the first-ever containerized vessel in the region, Barte said.


Marlon de Guzman, general manager of RCL's agent Eagle Express, confirmed the announcement made by Barte, saying "the Bicolandia will now be able to enjoy the benefits of having an international container vessel."


De Guzman also pointed out that the freight cost in Zamboanga has decreased by 70 percent, and he hopes to see a similar reduction in Bicol. (PIA5)

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