Gov’t urged to develop major eastern cargo port | Inquirer Business

Gov’t urged to develop major eastern cargo port

The Philippines needs a major cargo shipping hub facing the Pacific Ocean, complementing Manila as the premiere harbor, to maximize the country’s potential as a hub for the movement of goods across the region, a professor from the country’s top business graduate school said.

In a study completed this month, Asian Institute of Management (AIM) faculty member Fernando Roxas said the country’s eastern seaboard was “prime real estate” that remained neglected and completely undeveloped.

“Whatever the historical reasons, the Philippine government cannot continue to ignore the strategic importance of developing Luzon’s eastern seaboard facing the Pacific Ocean,” Roxas said in his study, a copy of which was given to the Inquirer.


He said there were 21 major economies in the Pacific Rim that account for 40 percent of the world’s population, 54 percent of global gross domestic product and 44 percent of international trade.


“Although the Philippines sits as a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), our main port in Manila actually faces away from the Pacific Ocean,” Roxas said. “As a consequence, the country’s eastern seaboard, which should be prime real estate following the experience of other Pacific Rim countries, is neglected and woefully undeveloped.”

Roxas said a possible location that could be developed into a major cargo port was Dingalan Bay, which straddles the Aurora and Quezon provinces. He said as early as 1995, the area was already identified by the Philippine Ports Authority as a technically viable and attractive site for an international port.

The bay was included in the 25-year master plan drafted during the Ramos administration. Unfortunately, plans did not firm up and the project was never pursued.

He said Dingalan Bay made for an excellent seaport because of adequate depth that could accommodate large vessels without the need for dredging or long causeways.

“Historical records show that Dingalan was extensively used by the United States navy during World War II to supply munitions to Filipino-American guerillas fighting the Japanese occupation troops in Luzon from 1942 to 1945,” Roxas said.

He said the country’s top trading partners, namely, Japan, the United States and South Korea, would all benefit from an eastern port that would make shipping lines shorter.


“Anchorage may be found in the north part of the bay, sheltered from the northeast winds,” he said. An alternative anchorage spot at Dingalan is its southern point, near the mouth of the Umiray River. “This anchorage is fully exposed to the northeast monsoon, but is protected from west and southwest winds,” Roxas said.

There are other port sites on the eastern side of Luzon such as Port Irene, north of Dingalan, and Port Real in the south. However, Roxas said Dingalan was superior because of its size and proximity to Manila at just 105 kilometers.

“Port Real may actually be closer to Manila but it is not an international port and the sea cargo from Real, Quezon, has not been significant at all,” Roxas said.

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A possible railway parallel to roads being built toward Dingalan would bring the cost of transport even lower, he said.

TAGS: Maritime transport, seaports, Shipping

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