GENERAL SANTOS CITY – More major projects are lined up at the Makar Port here in the coming months in line with the continuing modernization of the country’s port operations.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the development plans are being finalized for the further upgrading and expansion of the existing facilities at the port, which is a key part of the country’s domestic and international shipping routes.
Tugade personally led on Thursday afternoon the inauguration of the wharf’s new PHP62.8 million Port Operations Building (POB) and other support facilities implemented by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
“There will be more projects coming in that we will announce in due time,” he said in a press conference.
The PPA said the POB complex is a “state-of-the-art facility” that is expected to ease the movement of vessels, cargo, and other port-related traffic compared to its old complex.
Lawyer Cesar Dataya, head of PPA-Socsargen Port Management Office, said the new POB building hosts its Port Integrated Clearance Office, which is a one-stop shop for various shipping transactions such as the processing of permits and necessary documentation for marine and terminal services, berthing, public assistance and complaints, and assessment and collection services.
“All transactions are now being processed in the same building. Requirements that previously took seven days or more can now be accomplished in a matter of minutes and a few hours for complicated matters,” he said, adding that the improved services will mainly benefit cargo shippers and other port clients and stakeholders.
Tugade urged PPA employees to make good use of the new improvements and further strive to perform better.
He directed them to further cut down the processing time for all their transactions and build a “culture of no corruption.”
“Erase the fixers and kill corruption in whatever form. Let us strive to work for the people and for good governance,” he said.
The PPA is also pushing for the revival of passenger ferry services at the Makar port.
Jay Daniel R. Santiago, PPA general manager, said they are negotiating with various shipping companies for the possible expansion of their operations in the city and other parts of the country.
He said the move was based on instructions from the Transportation secretary.
“We’ve been talking with the shipping lines for the opening of more ferry routes,” he said in Thursday's press conference.
Santiago said among their accomplishments so far was the resumption of passenger services of 2Go Travel in Davao City.
Dataya said the domestic passenger ferry services at the Makar port initially ceased in 2008 due to the lack of clients.
He said 2Go Travel revived the route in 2018, serving Davao, Zamboanga, Iloilo, and Manila, but it only lasted for eight months.
The shipping line was forced to cease operations due to mounting losses as a result of the lack of passengers, he said.
Dataya said the port is being considered for a planned international sea route within the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area but is “still on the table.”
“(Concerned) officials are still sorting out what routes to open,” he said. (With a report from Allen V. Estabillo/PNA)