The Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation recorded three million passengers passing through the Bredco Port last year, its president, John Alonte, said yesterday.
The record is seven percent higher compared to 2016,thatrecorded 2.8 million passengers, or an increase of 200,000.
Alonte told the DAILY STAR yesterday that the increase is due to theeconomic progress that both Bacolod and Negros Occidentalcontinuouslyexperience.
Apart from the high passenger rate, he also reported that 1,950 local and 145 foreign vessels have docked in the port, that also received approximately 2 million metric tons of domestic and foreign cargos and 163,000 TEUs ( twenty-foot equivalent unit) of containerized cargos.
Alonte said that with this increase on record , they are expecting acontinuous growth in the port this year, and they are preparing for it, like the opening of the new passenger terminal in March.
Modernization is also being pushed as manual labor in the port is decreasing due to other opportunities in the city, like in construction and other growing industries, he said.
Currently, the move to invest more in the modernization of the port is pending as they are still waiting for the approval of the Bacolod City government to renew theircontract for another 25 years, Alonte added.
Bredco's contract to operate will last until 2020, he said, adding that they are asking for its renewal to push for modernization in the port.
“We want to invest in new equipment that could automate services in Bredco, but we cannot do it unless the local government will approve our move to renew our contract,” he said.
He added they already agreed to the proposal to increase port rental, from P800,000 to P6 million annually. “We are already prepared to pay it,” he added.
Alonte also said that Bredco management understands the rental increase as the net income has also been increasing in the past years.
“We have been one of the top real estate taxpayers in the city, and I hope that the local government will consider the renewal,” he said, adding that fast-tracking the approval of their contract could also mean fast-tracking modernization in the area.
If the contract is renewed, Alonte also said there is already an investor who is willing to invest billions of pesos to upgrade the equipment and buy new machines for the port. * MLG
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