On Banago and Bredco Ports-A A +A
Sunday, July 22, 2012
BANAGO Port holds a special place in my life. During my grade school years, it was from Banago that we embark on M/V Don Vicente and M/V Don Julio on our way to Iloilo to spend our summers in my hometown of Patnongon, Antique.
My brother and I were accompanied by either of our parents or our lola for the three-to-four hour boat trip to Iloilo and another four-hour land trip from Iloilo aboard open-sided buses to Patnongon.
For the long trip, we invariably had bread, boiled eggs and pork adobo as our baon. We had almost the same baon on the return trip, except that the viand was now chicken adobo – native chicken from our lolo and lola’s farm.
Indeed, Banago Port is part of the indelible memories of my childhood summers.
On the other hand, Bredco Port also holds significance in my life. It was in Bredco that I cut my teeth on port operations.
I was assistant to NFSP president Enrique D. Rojas when the Federation imported a shipload of 7,300 mt Urea worth around $2.2 million a few years back. Louie Kilayko, nephew of Nene Rojas, and I were tasked to supervise the unloading of the fertilizer from North Korean ship M/V Loon Gyun Bong for safekeeping in Bredco’s warehouses right at the port.
During the almost two weeks unloading period, Louie handled the 7am to 7pm shift while I took care of the more menacing night shift. Our task? Ensure that the 140,000 50-kilo bags of Urea are safely unloaded from the ship and stored in the warehouses for later sale to NFSP members.
We practically camped at Cambodia, the international port area of Bredco. How it got its name beats me but that’s what you tell trisikad and tricycle drivers at reclamation if you want to go to Bredco’s international port area.
The Bureau of Customs cordoned off part of the port where the ship was docked and declared it as Customs area. Any cargo which goes out of the Customs area has to be cleared with Customs and recorded at the gate to ensure that the goods being unloaded conform in volume and substance with what was declared in the Bill of Lading.
After leaving the Customs area, the cargo trucks laden with Urea then pass by the Bredco weighing scale. Here the truck and cargo is weighed. Weight of the loaded truck minus weight of the empty truck equals weight of the fertilizer.
Divide the fertilizer’s weight with the number of bags and you get the average weight per bag, thus ensuring that NFSP is not shortchanged by underweight Urea. Moreover, you also confirm that the number of bags loaded in the truck when it went out of the Customs area is correct.
Off now to the Bredco warehouses where stevedores unload the fertilizer and pile them. At that time, the stevedoring fee was P1.20 per bag. Small as it already is, not all of the amount ends up in the kargador’s pocket. Bredco takes P0.20 while the contractor and sub contractor take another P0.20. The poor kargador ends up with only P0.80 per 50-kilo bag he hauls.
At the end of each shift, I had to reconcile the number of trucks and number of bags which came out of the Customs area versus the number of trucks and bags which passed by the weighing scale and the number of bags deposited in the warehouses.
Once I got the hangs of it, the work was just a breeze.
When the entire cargo was unloaded, the “losses” from torn and split sacks were less than one percent of the 146,000 bags. All of the torn and split sacks were accounted for which means that not a single bag was lost to pilferage.
The entire discharging and safekeeping operation ran smoothly and seamlessly because Bredco management knew what it was doing and it had the facilities to ensure the loading and unloading of even international vessels.
We in Bacolod are fortunate that we have Bredco Port, which allows businessmen to trade maritime cargo with ease. We hope southern and northern Negros can also have ports of similar capabilities.
(For reaction and suggestions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 23, 2012.