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ICTSI rethinks bidding for Davao seaport deal

“We are reconsidering the required investment amounts. If that’s reconsidered, we’ll look at it again. If the numbers are reasonable, there’s a possibility we will participate,” Christian R. Gonzalez, ICTSI vice-president and Asia Region head, told reporters last week.

ICTSI has yet to purchase the bid documents for the P18.99-billion Sasa Port modernization project, Mr. Gonzalez said.

The deadline for the submission of the prequalification documents is set for June 30.

The first seaport project rolled out under the Aquino government’s flagship public-private partnership (PPP) program had earlier drawn flak from Davao’s business community and local government units on worries it will compete with existing private sector interest.

The two other ports in Davao are owned by Davao International Container Terminals, Inc. and Hijo International Port Services, Inc., majority owned by ICTSI.

“We’ve been consulted [by the government]. We’ve been involved to some degree from the very beginning because we have an active contract in Sasa,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

“We understand the market. We knew clearly that [project cost] wasn’t going to fly with all the private port operators including ourselves. We’ll see how it goes.”

Asked if ICTSI would need a partner should it decide to bid for the Sasa project, Mr. Gonzalez said: “From my understanding of the requirements, obviously we would qualify. We’re one of the leading container terminal operators in the world.”

According to the PPP Center Web site, the Sasa project involves modernizing existing infrastructure and the construction of a new apron, linear quay, container yards, warehouses, as well as expansion of its backup area and the installation of ship-to-shore cranes and rubber-tired gantry.

The winning bidder will operate and maintain the port for 30 years.

Meanwhile, ICTSI plans to continue expanding its global footprint as it looks for opportunities in Australia, Indonesia and Africa.

“We’re waiting on some progress in Australia, on the West Coast.

We’re in Melbourne but we’re waiting on some news on the Fremantle port. We’re actively searching in Indonesia,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

“We have prequalified [in Australia], but we are awaiting word on RFB [request for bid] documents,” he said.

ICTSI may need to work with “one of the state-owned operators” in Indonesia as required by national laws, Mr. Gonzalez said.

The Philippine company had said it was looking at investments in Mombasa, Cameroon and Kenya in Africa.

The company, which has a portfolio of 29 container terminal operations in 21 countries across six continents, has eight key terminal operations: Manila, Brazil, Poland, Madagascar, China, Ecuador, Pakistan, and Honduras. — KAMM

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