SOURCE: MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT
DATE: MONDAY, MAY 18, 2009
The awarding of the North Harbor project originally scheduled for this month will not push through as planned, according to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
PPA said that the technical evaluation of the proposal of the sole bidder’s proposal is “not yet through.”
The joint venture of Harbour Centre Port Terminals, Inc. (HCPTI) and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) is the sole bidder of the port project.
North Harbor is among the 10 priority ports contained in the SONA port modernizations project that must attain international standards by 2010.
“We are still evaluating and negotiations are still on whether they can perform the minimum requirement of the Terms of Reference (TOR),” said PPA asst. general manager Raul Santos.
He further explained that the TOR can be amended, if there is failure of the bidding for the second time.
“It’s hard to push through with project modernizations when there are pending court problems such as in the case of North Harbor and Batangas port,” Santos added.
Due to the pending case field by HCPTI against PPA, Santos explained that the long waited modernization would be dragged for sometime.
PPA made a Board resolution voiding the process citing that the contract should be awarded using a competitive bid wherein at least two bidders should be declared eligible to guarantee that the best rates and modernization program prevails.
Harbour Centre, filed a case in August 2007 before the Manila Regional Trial Court claiming PPA board changed the bidding rules.
After more than a year in court battle, they agreed to enter a compromise deal.
Based in the terms in the compromise agreement, Harbour Centre and Metro Pacific will use the existing cargo-handling rates when they take over and maintain it in the next 3 years.
Santos said the case is not dismissed yet.
North Harbor , one of the busiest ports in the country has fallen way below international standards, that it badly needs modernization through privatization to prevent the port’s continuous deterioration.
Its port facilities are already more than 50 years old and surpassed its useful economic life that it now poses great risks to users.
The sole bidder is looking at P8 billion to P10 billion to investments to modernize the dilapidated and most inefficient port in the country.
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