Monday, October 18, 2021

Shipyard group seeks talks with Consolacion LGU, developer

PROTEST. Shipyard workers stage a protest expressing their opposition against the Seafront City reclamation project in Tayud, Consolacion, Cebu on Sept. 13, 2021. The Shipyard Association of Consolacion is seeking a dialogue with Consolacion officials and the reclamation developer to discuss the shipyard players’ concerns. / SACC

THE Shipyard Association of Consolacion Cebu (SACC) wants to have a dialogue with the Consolacion local government unit (LGU) and developer of the proposed Seafront City to discuss concerns over the reclamation project to arrive at a real win-win solution to save jobs and businesses.

SACC is composed of seven commercial shipyards situated in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion. Most of its members have been in operation for 30 years.

Its member companies render services such as ship building, ship repair and maintenance, ship breaking, ship conversion and other specialized marine-related services, like fixed CO2 installation and servicing, underwater hull inspection, hydrographic surveying, marine heavylift, tug assistance and marine salvaging works, among others.


SACC said it is opposing the proposed reclamation “because the local government of Consolacion has not given any feasible plans to protect the various shipyards and affected locals in the area.”

Closing the shipyard to give way for the proposed reclamation will also put thousands of jobs at stake.

“The reclamation project will result in the unemployement of thousands due to the closure of the commercial shipyards of Consolacion, all of whom serve 60 to 70 percent of all ships in Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao. The shipping industry of these areas will be greatly affected, most especially the vessels in Cebu,” SACC said in a statement.

The proposed Seafront City reclamation project is a consortium with a private firm, La Consolacion Seafront Development Inc., and the municipal government of Consolacion. This mixed-use reclamation project is envisioned to become an international economic hub.

“To close the shipyards is to undervalue its significant contribution and the technical support it has given to the shipping sector of our country,” the group stressed. “The shipyard industry is something the Municipality of Consolacion should be proud of and it should be protected, not closed.”

The clients of SACC member shipyards are mainly from government agencies like the Philippine navy, and essential services like the cargo ships that transport rice, cement and food-grade agri-products, among others.

“That is why the closure of Consolacion’s shipyards will surely cause logistical delays, greater repair costs and inevitably lead to an increase of shipping cost, which will trickle down the supply chain and affect every Filipino,” the group warned.

Win-win solution

SACC said seeking an audience with the Consolacion LGU officials will allow both parties to discuss concerns and eventually arrive at a win-win solution that will be beneficial for Consolacion.

“A few days after the supposed ‘Public Scoping of the LGU’ in January 2021, the SACC members organized a meeting with Consolacion vice mayor in the hopes to voice out our concerns and come into an agreement. It was at this time that we also requested another follow-up meeting, with the people behind La Consolacion Seafront Development Corp. However, their identities have still not been revealed to us and until now, we are still waiting for the LGU to grant us an audience with them,” the group said.

The group added that relocating shipyards is not an easy task as it takes years to build a shipyard and not all coastlines are viable for such a development.

“The LGU should also take into account the availability of technical workers, proximity to suppliers, machine shops, logistic companies and accessibility to utilities like electricity, water and telecommunications,” SACC said.

Pandemic impact

Besides the group’s concern over the proposed reclamation project, the shipyard industry is also badly affected by the ongoing pandemic.

Since the outbreak, the group said it had experienced “a considerable decrease in customers and overall volume of work, resulting in estimated 40 to 50 percent loss of revenue.”

“Although we continue to operate, we mostly now repair ships that serve infrastructure, construction, mining, energy and general cargo industries,” the group said. (KOC)


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