Additional P7.7B for port project

Additional P7.7B for port project
According to the Department of Finance website, the port will include a berthing facility with a 500-meter quay wall length “that can simultaneously accommodate two 2,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) vessels,” operating facilities and structures for containers, an access road and a bridge, among others. / CEBU PORT AUTHORITY

THE start of construction of the New Cebu International Container Port (NCICP) in Barangay Tayud in the northern town of Consolacion, Cebu has been delayed several times, and now the project cost has ballooned to P16.9 billion.

Cebu Port Authority (CPA) information officer Maryknoll Bolasa, in a text message on Sunday, June 30, 2024, said the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board chaired by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved an additional P7.7 billion for the project.

In an August 2023 report of SunStar Cebu, Neda’s records showed that the project cost was $199,250,000.

(The amount’s conversion into Philippine peso varies depending on the peso-dollar exchange rate. This explains why the original cost in peso is different whenever news on the project comes out. However, the dollar cost remains the same.)

Initially, a Korean bank loan would provide the $172,641,000, while the remaining $26,609,000 would serve as the Philippine government’s counterpart funding.

However, the $172.641 million loan agreement was only valid from Sept. 21, 2018 to Aug. 21, 2023.

With the loan expired, SunStar Cebu tried to get more information from the CPA, but the details available as of press time were limited.

SunStar Cebu also tried to reach Neda 7 for more details on the reason the project cost rose sharply, but to no avail.

The Philippine government secured the funding in 2018 from the Export Import Bank of Korea, almost two decades since the Japan International Cooperation Agency created the masterplan for the NCICP in 2002.

Neda 7 previously said the project was supposed to be completed in August 2022 as per the loan agreement, but until now, it has yet to break ground.

Authorities have blamed the coronavirus pandemic and the lack of clearances for the delay.

The NCICP will be built on a 25-hectare reclaimed land.

Previous reports stated that once completed, the current Cebu International Port at the Cebu Baseport in Cebu City will form part of the Port of Cebu domestic port to augment port domestic operations. This is seen to improve the flow of goods and services in the Visayas region.

The NCICP is one of nine infrastructure flagship projects whose scope, cost, implementation period and loan validity were adjusted.

“The adjustments to these ongoing infrastructure projects were necessary to ensure their successful completion, advancing our national efforts to expand and upgrade our infrastructure, improve connectivity and create more jobs,” Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a press release posted on its website. / JJL


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