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Chelsea offers to modernize Sasa port

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CHELSEA Logistics Holdings Corp. (CLC) said it submitted a P16-billion unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for the modernization of Sasa port in Davao City.

“We already submitted a proposal for the development of Sasa port in Davao. It’s unsolicited. We’re waiting for the actions of DoTr on that matter,” CLC president and chief executive officer Chryss Alfonsus V. Damuy told reporters on Friday.

He said the proposal, which was submitted mid-2018, covers a 25-year concession period that will have four phases focusing on the rehabilitation of the port facilities and increasing its capacity.

“If you look at the state of the port of Davao now, it really needs a massive rehabilitation. Yung deck mismo [The deck itself], there’s a lot of damaged areas which we have to rehabilitate. There are very limited equipment as to cargo handling, limited yung mga quay crane nila [their quay crane is limited]. So those are things that we wanted to do with the Phase 1, rehabilitate the existing and install modern equipment,” Mr. Damuy said.

He estimated Phase 1 of the proposal would require around P5 billion.

Yung phase kasi niyan is depending on the certain milestone…. It’s done in phases na pag na-reach yung certain capacity, we will roll out the next phase [The proposal is based on the success phase after phase when a certain milestone is achieved…. It’s done in phases such that when we reach a certain capacity, we will roll out the next phase],” Mr. Damuy added.

The Sasa port will be handling container, general cargo and passenger ships for both domestic and international markets.

In March, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) regional office in Davao said the DoTr put the Sasa port upgrade back in the lineup of projects under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.

To recall, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) had pulled out Sasa port from the PPP list in December 2016 after getting approval from the PPA Board to study alternative development plans with a budget of about P4.7-4.9 billion.

The P19-billion rehabilitation plan drafted under the Aquino administration was opposed by the Davao City government and the business sector which cited its cost.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade on Friday said he wants more attention to be given to upgrading ports in order to improve inter-island connectivity in the country.

Although he can’t disclose details, Mr. Tugade told reporters the DoTr currently has a number of unsolicited proposals for port development.

Meron sa Davao. Meron sa container sa Cebu. Pero…habang pinag-uusapan at wala pang sure, mahirap [There’s one in Davao, there’s one in Cebu. But until discussions are ongoing and nothing is final, it’s hard to speak],” he said. — Denise A. Valdez