The Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation and Telecommunication (DOTC) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), is revitalizing Tacloban’s port facilities and operation, a move seen not only to accelerate but also to ensure safe delivery of the massive humanitarian aid for Tacloban and other devastated areas in Eastern Visayas.

DOTC and PPA have tapped global port operator, International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), to reinforce and improve port services given the influx of support from countries the world over and the immediate need to transport aid.

Christian R. Gonzalez, ICTSI head of Asian Region, says: “Today, we signed a relief support agreement with the agreement with the PPA. We have been closely working round-the-clock with DOTC and PPA to get this project running at the quickest time possible. We have dispatched our equipment, which should arrive in Tacloban by Tuesday. By then, the port will be fully operational.”

ICTSI is deploying various cargo handling equipment valued at over PhP200 million. This includes a brand new mobile harbor crane (MHC) already being commissioned in Davao for possible deployment to Leyte if required. Commissioning is being done in Davao due to the lack of water depth at the Tacloban port to support the heavy lift vessel carrying it.

As its donation to the typhoon victims, spreader manufacturer Stinis from Holland added two more back up spreaders to ensure the smooth and continuous operation.

Moreover, a start up team composed of topnotch engineers, operations managers and staff, equipment operators from the Manila International Container Terminal, ICTSI’s flagship, have been dispatched to support port operation.

Gonzalez added that ICTSI will run the Tacloban port free, and will continue to do so up until the close of the government’s relief operations and normal transportation network has been restored, at which time ICTSI will take back all the equipment and pull out its personnel.

Meanwhile, at the MICT, ICTSI has opened its container freight station (CFS) facilities to the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD). The terminal’s CFS 2 in particular was designated as DSWD’s relief operations center (ROC), where international relief donations entering the Port of Manila are processed. The ROC is manned 24/7 by ICTSI volunteer employees along with DSWD volunteers working 24/7 as foreign aid continue to pour for the typhoon victims.