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Ronnie Yambao (left), senior deputy administrator for operations of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), shakes hands with Pankaj Patki, Mediterranean Shipping Company general manager, to welcome the world’s largest shipping line to Subic Bay Freeport. (Photo courtesy of SBMA)

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT––The world’s largest shipping line made its maiden port call in this freeport last week, raising hopes of stronger regional seaborne trade, officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said Sunday, Feb. 27.

In a statement, SBMA Chair and Administrator Wilma Eisma said the weekly port calls here of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the leading global shipping company in terms of capacity, would further boost Subic’s trade capacity, which generated $1.58 billion (about P81.25 billion) in imports and $1.03 billion ( P51.58 billion) in exports last year.

“My dream for the Subic Bay Freeport is for it to be among the top 50 biggest ports like Shanghai or Singapore. The fact that MSC… chose Subic to be on its trade route not only gives Subic access to the world and vice versa but also brings us one more step closer to that goal,” Eisma said.

The SBMA is targeting an import value of $1.77 billion (P91 billion) and an export value of $1.42 billion (P73 billion) now that economies are starting to recover from the global impact of COVID-19.

MSC operates all major ports in the world and began its Subic schedule to expand its seahorse service loop in Southeast Asia with the voyage of the MSC Sotiria III here on Feb. 23.

The 2,475-TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) container ship arrived at Subic’s New Container Terminal after visiting the port of Manila on Feb. 21.

MSC general manager Pankaj Patki said the MSC seahorse service trade loop would call on Subic every week with three container ships on rotation to provide comprehensive port coverage within Asia.

“MSC feels that there is a huge growth potential, and we would like to cater to customers in this region who have had to travel to Manila to load their cargoes,” Patki said.

According to SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Ronnie Yambao, the MSC is the 25th shipping line to service the Port of Subic.

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