SUAL, Pangasinan—The local government has asked the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to invite investors, through a private-public partnership arrangement, to complete and operate the Sual international seaport.
Mayor Roberto Arcinue said the first phase of the project was completed in November last year and the port is ready to serve flat-bottomed vessels (boats that travel through shallow waters, such as barges).
But almost a year after its completion, the facility remains idle.
Although the port has yet to be completed, the PPA and the Bureau of Customs have put up offices in the town, he said.
“We do not know when the PPA will operate the port, but we hope it will be soon because it would [improve the economy of] the town and the province of Pangasinan,” Arcinue said.
Providing the province a new port has been long overdue, he said.
Arcinue said transporting cargo from Metro Manila to Pangasinan by boat would be cheaper than shipping goods by truck. He said cargo vessels could also hold more goods compared to trucks.
A trailer truck can carry 20 to 25 metric tons of cargo while a barge can carry 5,000 MT of goods, he said.
The second phase of the port project would extend the wharf toward the sea, where water is 10 to 12 meters deep, while the third phase would cover a section, where the water is 18 to 25 meters deep.
The port is in a cove and vessels could dock or seek shelter there during typhoons, Arcinue said.
The local government is also inviting companies to invest in ship repair, as well as shipbuilding projects, in the town, which was declared a special economic zone by then President Fidel Ramos in 1995. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon