[PHOTO: NCT-1 Grand Launch: Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano Salonga (2nd from right) and Administrator and CEO Armand Arreza (right) assist Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC) vice-chairman Francisco Delgado III during the formal launching of Subic’s New Container Terminal-1 (NCT-1), which is expected to spur growth among industries in Luzon that need to widen their reach in the global market. Also gracing the ceremony are SBITC general manager Aurelio Garcia and Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon.]

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, MAY 18, 2008 (SBMA) PRESS RELEASE from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority - With its recent formal launching, Subic’s New Container Terminal-1 (NCT-1) is now expected to spur growth among industries in Luzon that need to widen their reach in the global market.

NCT-1, which comprises the first phase of Subic’s $215-milion port development project, has a cargo-handling capacity of 300,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and is now primed to position Subic Bay as the new maritime logistics center of the Philippines, said Armand Arreza, administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

“With the newly-opened Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), the NCT-1 — and later the NCT-2 — could exponentially increase global market access for industries in Central and Northern Luzon,” Arreza said.

“Now that the infrastructure are in place, it would be easier to attract foreign investments and boost local trade at the same time,” he added.

The NCT-1, which is now being operated by the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), has already unloaded its first shipment on April 2, when the 1,200-TEU M/V Eagle Excellence delivered cargoes from the port of Kaoshiung in Taiwan.

But SBITC chose to formally launch the container port after the April 28 opening of the SCTEx to highlight the combined trade potentials of the port and the expressway.

The formal launch on Friday, which had shipping industry leaders, business locators from Subic, Clark and Tarlac, as well as local government officials as guests, is the first step in introducing the NCT-1 to its target markets, said SBITC general manager Aurelio Garcia.

“We are hoping to bring in the port users from Subic, Clark and Tarlac, together with the shipping lines that are making port calls in Manila as well — get them talking, and find out what each party could do to support the development of this facility,” he said.

“This is because our main market, besides the Subic Bay Freeport locators, are businesses from Clark, Tarlac, and Angeles City. This event also gives them the chance to experience the convenience that the SCTEx brings,” he said.

Garcia added that SBITC, together with the SBMA, will also conduct road shows in Subic, Bataan, Clark, Tarlac and other provinces in Central and Northern Luzon to introduce NCT-1 to potential clients.

The team also plans to travel abroad to induce foreign shipping lines to use Subic as their transshipment hub, he said.

The commercial operation of the NCT-1 is seen to boost Subic’s bid to attract more investments this year and become a major catalyst in propelling economic growth in the country.

“Subic is now fully-equipped to attract, foster and support industries, and it is a key to an industrialized Philippines,” said SBITC vice-chairman Francisco Delgado III.

“NCT-1 will provide the global link needed by industries in the Central and Northern Luzon growth corridor,” he added.

Businessmen from Subic, meanwhile, echoed the same enthusiasm. “It’s a very exciting time for the Freeport,” said John Corcoran, president of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC). “NCT-1 is going to be a great resource for the businesses located here."

Subic’s container port and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) at the neighboring Clark Freeport are the key ingredients to government efforts in transforming the former Subic and Clark military bases into a globally-competitive service and logistics hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

Subic’s port and Clark’s airport are now connected by the 94-kilometer SCTEx, which is expected to play a crucial role in facilitating the efficient transfer of raw materials, products and services between the two free ports and other industrial areas in Luzon. (30)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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