EXPORTERS from Davao Region said on Monday they are not against the modernization and privatization of Sasa Port for as long as it can boost the local economy.

But exporters said this should not add burden to small export players in terms of shipment cost.

Speaking in Monday's Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) in Davao Region president Ferdinand Marañon said the modernization plan is already long overdue and should have been done a long time ago.

The exporters' group is looking at Sasa port modernization projects, through the public-private partnership, as a welcome development amid objection from the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII).

In fact, the business leader said the project will further drive growth of the region's economy by providing the small-scale export players a modern facility.

When the project will be realized, he said this should not cost them too much, as there will always be other alternative ports in Davao del Norte that will accommodate them.

Earlier, former City Councilor Peter Laviña lambasted the bid cost of the Sasa Port Modernization project placed at P17 billion by the International Finance Corp. (IFC) of the World Bank.

He said this is clearly overpriced as compared to the P4 billion originally set by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

"The PPA has the mandate, the expertise, and experience in port development, management and operations," Lavina said.

He added that no businessman can recover his investment in 30 years due to the current capacity of the Sasa Port.

Marañon said it is already out of the concern of the local exporters whether the winning bidder will be able to recover his money to be invested for the port.

Exporters' Congress

The Philexport-Davao will also host the Mindanao Exporters' Congress slated on July 23 to 25, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center Davao at SM Lanang Premier.

Some 300 participants coming from the five chapters of the Philexport in Mindanao will converge for the three-day congress, which will tackle the current issues that concern the local exporters.

"We want to give our SMEs (small medium enterprises) the pathway to export their products," he added.

A business matching will also highlight the congress that will link the producers with the prospective buyers.