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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Doris Magsaysay-Ho’s pitch:Adopt ‘portropolis’ concept

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SHIPPING line owner Doris Magsaysay-Ho is recommending that the government adopt the concept of a “portropolis”—a play on “ports” and “metropolis”—and view ports from a different perspective.

The highly respected business leader explained that a network of portropolis essentially means that ports are the “heart of burgeoning economies.” Ports, she said, should not only be gateways but full logistics hubs with spaces for inland container depots, stripping, agricultural facilities, cold storage, inspection, and certification of products to enable efficient distribution of goods for export and import.

“International ports have made significant investments and can contribute valuable revenue to the government. However, it is important for the government to improve the vital performance of ports with ‘a whole-of-government approach’ working on solutions’ outside the port,” Magsaysay-Ho said.

Crucial to her proposal is the removal of obstructions that restrict quick and efficient movement of cargo.

“The roads, that are the arteries to and from the ports, must be free and clear of illegal business fees charged by the LGUs [local government units],” Maysaysay-Ho said.

Clearing these roads of all sources of congestion, she said, would make movement of goods faster from ports by cargo trucks and to shippers.

“Ideally, obstacles along these arteries are cleared, so we can lift truck bans which prevent a trucker to maximize the use of the asset and lower charges,” Magsaysay-Ho said.

She said shipping remains the most economical way to deliver cargo by volumes. In fact, 90 percent of all goods is transported via ships.

“Some high-end priced goods or those needing speed, may use air cargo services but shipping is still the most economical way to ship goods, especially in volume,” Magsaysay-Ho stressed.

The supply bottlenecks the country saw at the height of the pandemic and surge in freight and land transport costs, she noted, are serving as “lessons on how to achieve better shipping and logistics operations.”

“It is important for the government to acknowledge that shipping and logistics are ‘critical infrastructures’ needed for the country’s development and are not impediments,” Magsaysay-Ho said. “But the work we must do must be long-term policies and solutions, not short term ones. The long-term solution will require an ‘all-of-government’ approach to infrastructure planning.”

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