NEW BEGINNING: ICTSI cleared to operate Iloilo’s Visayas Container Terminal

New reach stackers are set to arrive at the Visayas Container Terminal (VCT) in Iloilo City, Philippines as part of its ongoing modernization program.

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) sanctioned a concession on Monday, April 15, clearing International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) to enhance and further develop the Visayas Container Terminal (VCT) located in the city’s Lapuz district.

The PPA and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel conducted a review following the grant of a 25-year concession to ICTSI, owned by Enrique Razon, on January 29, ensuring alignment with the regulatory framework established by PPA Administrative Order No. 03-2016.

ICTSI executive vice president Christian Gonzalez expressed enthusiasm about taking the helm of the terminal’s operations, envisioning the VCT as a linchpin for Iloilo’s prosperity.

“The VCT is poised to become a catalyst for Iloilo’s economic and social growth. We’re thrilled to begin operations and transform the Iloilo Port into a world-class gateway for the Central Philippines. Our significant investments in modern infrastructure, cargo-handling equipment, and operational efficiency will drive this transformation,” Gonzalez said.

ICTSI aims to resolve existing regional trade bottlenecks, enhancing capacity and efficiency at the port.

“ICTSI’s involvement will transform the port, addressing these challenges and unlocking its economic benefits. The port will be operated exclusively to serve foreign vessels and cargoes, with a provision for domestic vessels and cargoes in the initial five years,” the company said in a press release.

With a portfolio that spans domestic locations and global terminals in various continents including the Manila International Container Terminal, Subic Bay International Terminal, Bauan International Port, and Mindanao Container Terminal, ICTSI brings extensive industry experience to the venture.

It also operates ports in Indonesia, Iraq, and China, and in other continents including Africa, Australia, Europe, and North and South America.

Mayor Jerry Treñas heralded ICTSI’s full-scale operation of the VCT as a boon for Iloilo’s economy, anticipating augmented export opportunities for Western Visayas.

The mayor said in February that the container port’s upgrading will pave the way for more exports of products from Western Visayas.

“I am excited about the economic opportunities that will open for Iloilo City with the development and operation of ICTSI. This will definitely fuel our economy as we position Iloilo City as a major trading hub attracting more cargoes, jobs, and other business prospects. I am eager to see the impact the modernization will bring to the growth of the city and the entire region. I thank the Philippine Ports Authority for approving ICTSI’s redevelopment of Iloilo Port,” Treñas said in his statement.

The VCT, formerly known as the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex, manages an annual throughput of 100,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and two million metric tons of non-containerized cargo.

The facility encompasses a 627-meter quay and 20 hectares of space for container handling, storage, and other logistics services.