Tuesday, March 16, 2010

RP, Australia partnership defines strategic nat’l transport network

The Philippines-Australia Partnership for Economic Governance Reforms (PEGR) has defined a strategic national transport network under the proposed national transport plan for the country.

The strategic national transport network will serve to create a unified, well-integrated economy where people and goods can move and trade swiftly and efficiently both domestically and internationally, according to assistant team leader George Esguerra.

The network would expand capacities and level of service in the inter-regional and inter-provincial transport links based on the emerging concentrations of demand generated by industries and services.

Esguerra stressed that the country’s roads, seaports, airports, and railways have been spotty and many of them are operating beyond asset capacities.

As specified in the plan, the strategic national road network consists of north-south road backbone, east-west laterals, and other roads of strategic national importance which inter-link regional and provincial capitals, growth centers, and defined principal ports and airports of the country.

The plan aims to increase the paved ratio from 21% to 90% of the entire road network by end-2016.

As regards the national port network, it covers the base ports and terminal ports under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) and the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), and ports directly managed by the special economic zones, particularly the Subic Port (SP) and the Mindanao International Container Port (MICP).

The plan targets to improve or construct 15 RORO terminal ports and nine ports for international transport and strengthen port security systems and procedures of all national ports by end-2016.

The national airport network, on the other hand, consists of the international ports under the special airport authorities and the national airports in the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) airport classifications, except the 40 community airports while the road RORO terminal system includes the identified Western, Central and Eastern Nautical Highways.

Under the plan, four international airports (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Mactan, Cebu and Laoag) will be developed and four intermodal and tourism airports such as Panglao, Caticlan, Puerto Princesa, Butuan and Cotabato – are to be expanded.

The strategic national transport network translates to a seamless, intermodal transport logistics network connecting production hubs, distribution centers and markets to establish high-quality, efficient logistics chains.

Part of the plan is to establish a single transport document for customs, immigration, quarantine and security purposes that can be used in all transport modes and a single access point for administrative processes and procedures to promote the simplification and decentralization of exchanges of freight-related information and to substantially reduce the cost of regulatory requirements.

The proposed NTP is estimated to cost P748 billion or about 1.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), about 69% of which are for road and road transport.

The investment cost is slightly higher than the average actual investment in transport infrastructure during period 1999-2008, which is less than 1% of GDP, but is significantly lower compared to about 4% for other Asian countries.

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