DOTR sets Q3 2024 start for new port

DOTR sets Q3 2024 start for new port
SunStar Local News

AFTER several delays, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is now targeting the start of the New Cebu International Container Port (NCICP) project implementation by the third quarter of 2024.

In a text message to SunStar Cebu on Monday, July 1, Maryknoll Bolasa, information officer of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), said the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board approved on June 25 the extension of the project’s implementation period until the second quarter of 2028.

The CPA is an attached agency of the DOTr.

The Neda board also approved a 48-month extension of loan validity for the Korean bank loan, which is one of the two funding sources of the project.

Bolasa said the NCICP’s project management unit (PMU) is now awaiting the official documents from the Neda Board.

These official documents contain the approval of the Neda board on June 25, and it will be the basis for the PMU to request the Special Allotment Release Order (Saro), a document issued by the Department of Budget and Management that authorizes the release of funds for specific programs and projects.

The Neda board meeting on June 25 was spearheaded by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Bolasa said that with the release of the Saro, a Notice of Award will be given to the winning bidder.

As a design-and-build project, the winning bidder must submit their design first after the Notice to Proceed (NTP) is issued, Bolasa added. The bidder will then build the NCICP, a port facility on a 25-hectare reclaimed land in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion.

The project, however, was marred with delays as it was supposed to be finished by August 2022. Factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of clearances reportedly contributed to the delay of the project implementation.

On June 30, Bolasa revealed to SunStar Cebu that the project cost had increased to P16.928 billion.

This followed the Neda board’s approval of an additional P7.7 billion on top of the previous project cost of P9.2 billion.

In a follow-up interview on Monday, Bolasa said the increase was due to the changes in the plans, such as the additional quay crane from the original four quay cranes.

Other factors in the increase in project cost are the consideration of the price escalation of construction commodities and equipment, and the budget for the lot and right of way acquisition.

Bolasa clarified that the increase in the project cost is charged to the Philippine government’s counterpart funding.

The NCICP project is funded through a loan provided by the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) secured in 2018 and a budget from the National Government.

Initially, a Korean bank loan will provide the $172,641,000 funding, with the remaining $26,609,000 coming from the Philippine government as counterpart funding. / EHP

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