THE Sasa Modernization project will be put back as one of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects and is targeted to be up for bidding by the second quarter of 2018.

After the Sasa modernization project under the PPP was scrapped by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) early last year due to cost and parameters of the partnerships, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) intends to revisit the project and bring it back under PPP.

"We need to tap the private sector's expertise in terms of the design and the construction of the facilities in this modernized port facility so we will not only be limited to DOTr could offer but [we'll also have] international expertise in terms of providing necessary facilities of thaf sea port that will serve the shipping needs of the region and other stakeholders in Mindanao," said National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Davao Regional Director Maria Lourdes Lim.

Currently, the PPA is updating the terms of reference which is targeted to finish by the second quarter of the year. Completion of this will be immediately followed by the bidding. When asked if they are still to reconsider the private companies that were pre-qualified the first time Sasa modernization project was under PPP, Lim said this will depend on the results of the terms of references that PPA came up with.

The companies that were pre-qualifed to bid for this project the first time were Asian Terminals Inc. – DP World FZE Consortium; Bollore Africa Logistics; International Container Terminal Services Inc.; Portek International Pte. Ltd. – National Marine Corp. Consortium; and San Miguel Holdings Corp. – APM Terminals Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. Consortium.

Before, the project cost of the Sasa modernization project was at around P18 billion. However, this time Lim said the project may only be around P6 billion.

She said some of the included components in the modernization are the gantry cranes and extended berthing spaces seaward. Aside from this, Lim also said the modernized Sasa Port will have more competitive facilities - those that could provide convenience and efficient services both for domestic and international shipping transactions.

This new Sasa Port will also have complete Customs Immigration and Quarantine Services.

"This is order to not crowd out efficient port services in Panabo and Tagum. We have to recognize the vital role played by the private sectors such as Anflocor port facilities and ecozone. They provide competitive alternative choices for our shippers," Lim said.

Although there has yet to be final timeline when the Sasa modernization project, Lim said they plan to complete this before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends on 2022.