ICTSI boosting capacity of Mexico and Iraq ports

Published April 20, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By James A. Loyola

Port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. is aiming to raise the capacities of the ports it is operating in Mexico and Iraq as it expects global trade to continue to grow.

At the sidelines of the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting, ICTSI Chairman Enrique K. Razon said they intend to raise the Iraqi port’s capacity to 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

“For Mexico, we are looking at one and a half million (TEUs) since we are already doing around 1 million (TEUs),” he added. Razon noted though that the brewing trade war between the US and China may affect the operations of its Mexican port since it handles a lot of shipments from China bound for the US.

However, he said that, if it becomes a full-blown trade war, China will have to seek new markets for its products and ICTSI’s ports in other parts of the world may benefit from this shift.

“For 2018, we have a capex (capital expenditure) budget of US$380 million mainly for continuing capacity expansion in Manila, Mexico, and Iraq; completion of the Honduras expansion; equipment and infrastructure development in Papua New Guinea; and the new barge terminal in Cavite,” he said.

To ensure the financing of acquisitions and capital expenditures, and for other corporate purposes, ICTSI issued new Senior Guaranteed Perpetual Capital Securities amounting to US$400 million.

Razon noted though that about half of this is for the refinancing of existing debt. “As the dust starts to settle, the race to build larger and larger ships begins anew. For us, the only way to keep up and stay relevant is to increase our efficiency and productivity — to stay ahead of the game,” he said.

He added that, “given our ongoing expansion and modernization projects and other mechanisms in place, we will be ready to meet the demands of the new shipping era. ICTSI will continue to leverage on the gains we made over the past year as we tread with caution in search of new opportunities to become the best at what we do.  We are ready.”