Source: InterAksyon, 28 November 2011


MANILA, Philippines –  The government is eyeing the Korean and Japanese markets to increase investment in the shipbuilding industry by 2014, an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has said.

Ruperto P. Majuca, NEDA assistant director-general, said the government expects investments in the shipbuilding industry to grow by P93 billion by 2014.

“With this development, the Philippines could be the fourth largest shipbuilding nation in the world in the next five to 10 years,” Majuca said.

In line with this, the NEDA official said the government is reviewing the development of existing roll-on roll-off (RORO) ports to accommodate international RORO ships, as well as the necessary regulatory framework to promote such service.

Other ports located in areas outside Metro Manila will also be promoted to open opportunities to worldwide shipping in the new areas.

Aside from this, Majuca said the government will continue to explore the development of port facilities through public-private partnerships (PPP).

“Identified port development projects through PPP would help boost tourism by servicing inter-island and international cruise vessels. Post-harvest facility projects would also include development of port or transport facilities, in terms of handling agricultural products,” Majuca said.

He noted the maritime industry needs to anchor its direction on upgrading its standards and implementing the sector’s existing plans and strategies, including those outlined in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011 to 2016.

“The maritime industry needs to update regularly their safety and security standards and strictly implement them, to keep up with international benchmarks and practices,” Majuca said.

Majuca added that ensuring transport safety and security is one of the strategies incorporated in the PDP, as he noted that the maritime sector has been plagued with more than 160 accidents annually over the last decade.

“Ensuring the effectiveness of maritime policy should be complemented by advancements in transportation infrastructure, which are crucial in boosting infrastructure development and the services sector,” he said.

“The PDP endeavors to ensure an integrated and coordinated transport network, including improving the country’s RORO terminal system that will enhance our interisland logistics,” he said.

Majuca said in compliance with international maritime security standards, the Philippines has adopted the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.

“Vessel Traffic Management Systems have been installed in some ports in Manila, Corregidor Island and Batangas, and additional ones are being planned in the country’s other ports,” Majuca said.

During the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Viet Nam last year, Majuca said that one of the flagship programs identified under the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity is a RORO Network that will explore sea linkages in the region.