Port traffic at the Port of Gen.Santos, popularly known as the Makar Wharf, is expecting an upward trend despite the ongoing pandemic as it unveils its Port Operations Building (POB) Complex.
The POB Complex, which was inaugurated on Thursday, 23 September, offers a state-of-the-art facility, which is expected to ease the movement of vessels, cargo and other port-related traffic compared to its old complex.
PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said the improved facility is a long-awaited development for the port considering that Makar Wharf is one of the major gateways to and from Mindanao.
“This is part of our planned development for the terminal in meeting its commitment of dispensing port services and facilities at par with world standards,” Santiago said.
“We are upgrading the terminal in order to become a one-stop-shop not only for conventional cargoes and traditional vessels but also for containerized cargo and panamax and post-panamax vessels,” Santiago stressed.
“In the meantime, this new facility that we are inaugurating this Thursday, will cut transaction time with the agency into half, facilitate the commercial turnaround of vessels while promoting better safety and security for all port users transacting with the port,” Santiago said.
The new facility, meanwhile, is composed of a Port Operations Building which houses its Port Integrated Clearance Office, a one-stop-shop for all PPA transactions like Marine and Terminal Services, Berthing, Public Assistance and Complaints, Assessment and Collection Services, among others.
It also boasts of a multi-function sports facility to promote work-life balance among its employees and port workers and at the same time provide a venue to hold meetings and controlled gatherings compliant with the new normal.
Employees now also enjoy a workplace conducive for productivity and growth compared to the crowded, humid, and old warehouses and transit sheds which were converted as office spaces before.
Meanwhile, despite the ongoing pandemic, the Port of General Santos continues to post encouraging figures with cargo volume already at 1.700 million metric tons (MMT) as of end June, which is already half-way of its usual annual average of 3.4 MMT of cargoes. In 2020, the port handled 3.438 MMT or some 4% below its pre-pandemic level of 3.594 MMT.
Among the products that pass through the port enroute to international markets include tuna and its by products, pineapples, banana as well as other products coming from the SOCCSKSARGEN region.
Department of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade who led in the unveiling of the POB Complex Marker along with Congresswoman Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, once again lauded the PPA with yet another completed strategic port project.
“I would like to congratulate the PPA for completing another vital port project. The Port of General Santos plays a significant role not just in the economy of Mindanao, but in the entire country, considering its huge contribution to our export receipts,” Sec. Tugade said in his speech.
“This project is a testament of our love and concern to the people of General Santos. You are important to the government. In the next couple of years, you will enjoy the benefits of these facilities through better and accessible port services that will address your demands and needs,” Tugade stressed.
“As we continue to recover from the pandemic, rest assured that the DOTr and PPA shall never cease to find ways to help make the Filipino life comfortable and convenient,” the Secretary concluded.