Korean company offers to modernize Cagayan’s Port Irene

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) – April 3, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — A Korean Company is proposing to undertake the expansion and modernization of Port Irene in Cagayan, the head of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said.

CEZA administrator and CEO Raul Lambino said Fairbridge Overseas Development Inc., through a local unit, expressed interest to modernize Port Irene in a proposal that includes dredging its harbor and reinforcing its pier to allow large cargo and cruise vessels to dock.

“This is a breakthrough proposal, for it is at no cost to the government. It will mark the beginning of the development of Port Irene to its full potential,” he said.

Port Irene is considered as the jewel of the Cagayan Economic Zone and Freeport but poor port conditions and inadequate infrastructure have set back its development.

Lambino said Port Irene has not operated at full capacity because its harbor is shallow and narrow, and thus, it has so far failed to take advantage of being along the Northern Pacific’s major international shipping lanes.

Fairbridge is in the industry of freight transport brokerage and other supporting transport services.

The firm’s proposed modernization includes dredging of the navigational channel, upgrading of existing piers and wharves, and reinforcing the one-kilometer concrete breakwater and repairing its storm-damaged portions.

Lambino said Fairbridge would get the sea sand dredged from the harbor and its periphery and use the harbor for its business.

He said Fairbridge also intends to contract local labor for the manufacture of building materials made out of sea sand for its mass housing project and for the importation and local sale of the product.

Since taking over as CEZA administrator in July last year, Lambino has eyed the rehabilitation of Port Irene as the “key in realizing the freeport’s potential as a regional transshipment hub for goods in East Asia and the Northern Pacific.”

Lambino earlier reported that CEZA had already finished the upgrade required by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on the Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) in Lal-lo.

CEZA said CNIA received recently its first commercial flight from Macau, a 100-seater Royal Air aircraft, and is expected to go into full operation next month.