P9.7B loan for international container port in Consolacion expires

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Image from Google Maps

THE loan agreement for the construction of the proposed New Cebu International Container Port (NCICP) in the northern town of Consolacion amounting to US$172.641 million (P9.7 billion) has expired on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023, but the completion rate of the project is still at 1.007 percent.

The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) also disclosed that as per the latest information from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the project has not been awarded to a contractor who will undertake the project yet, a year after it was supposed to have been completed.

The NCICP is funded by a loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea from the Republic of Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund.

Based on the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7’s records, the current project cost of the NCICP is $199,250,000 (P11.2 billion at the current exchange rate of P56.37 to $1), of which $172,641,000 (P9.7 billion) is funded by the Korean bank loan, and $26,609,000 (P1.499 billion) by the Philippine government as counterpart funding.

The loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea was signed during then President Rodrigo Duterte’s official visit to South Korea on June 4, 2018.

The loan was valid from Sept. 21, 2018 to Aug. 21, 2023.

In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Aug. 20, Neda 7 said the DOTr had requested an extension of the implementation period; however, it had no information yet on whether the DOTr’s request had been approved or not.

Neda 7 said that based on its records, the completion rate of the project was only at 1.007 percent.

The agency did not specify what had been completed but said it is positive that the DOTr is closely monitoring the project, considering it is one of the 194 priority projects of the current administration.

“We are positive, though, that DOTr is monitoring this and doing what’s best for the project,” Neda 7 said in a statement.

It is the DOTr that is spearheading the project, CPA public information officer Mary Knoll Bolasa told SunStar Cebu last Friday, Aug. 18.

In their latest update from the DOTr, Bolasa said the project had not been awarded yet and that the agency is still negotiating with the bidder.

In July 2022, SunStar Cebu reported that two Korean construction firms participated in the technical bid conducted in May.

During the second technical bid in June, one of the two Korean firms qualified for the post-qualification process for the project.

Neda said the project has five components: consulting services, civil works, procurement of equipment, land acquisition and resettlement, and environmental management.

Neda 7 said the project was supposed to be completed in August 2022 as per the loan agreement.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach a representative from the DOTr but received no response as of this writing.

The CPA is currently operating the Cebu International Port at Cebu Baseport.

Bolasa said on Sunday that with the existing facilities, CPA is capable of catering to domestic and foreign shipping lines but that it is looking forward to the completion of the NCICP.

She said the expansion project would allow the CPA to cater to more vessels and provide opportunities in terms of trade and revenue.

The NCICP will be built on a 25-hectare reclaimed land in Barangay Tayud in Consolacion.

Previous reports stated that once completed, the current Cebu International Port at the Cebu Baseport will form part of the Port of Cebu domestic port to augment port domestic operations.

The project is also seen to improve the flow of goods and services in the Visayas region. / JJL


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