Featured Philippine Ports: Batangas Port

Batangas Port

copyright: mcgutib


Better known as the “Industrial Port City”,  Batangas is one of the fastest growing economy in CALABARZON province-an export driven industrial development region that stimulated the growth of shipping activities in Batangas Port. Bordered by the Province of Cavite and Laguna to the north; Quezon Province to the east, crossing Verde Island Passage to the south is Mindoro, and to the west is the West Philippine Sea. It’s capital is Batangas City.

Long before the arrival of the Spaniards in the country, large communities are already settled along the Pansipit River- a navigable channel (it used to be- that is before Taal volcano’s eruption in 18th century) connecting Taal Lake to Balayan Bay. These community have been engaging trades with Japanese during Muromachi period, and Chinese traders since the Ming Dynasty in the 13th and 15th century.

The first Spanish missionaries arrived in 1572, later on in 1581 a settlement was established and named it “Batangan”  because of the numerous big logs that were seen at Calumpang river. The logs by the way were named “batang” by people settled near the river, and later on the word batang were replaced and it became Batangas in 1601.

On 21st of June 1969, the late President Ferdinand Marcos signed a law (Republic Act No. 5495) creating Batangas a City. On 23rd of July 1969, Batangas City government was formally established.

Batangas City is approximately 112 kilometers southwest of Manila. Batangas Port (declared as a national port in 1956) on the other hand, is located in Barangay Sta. Clara, about two kilometers from the city proper; and situated in the northeastern part of Batangas bay, a strategic site for the development of port facilities. The bay area has a 180 square kilometers of body of sea while the mouth of the bay is approximately 16 kilometers across, and is well-protected by Mindoro, Maricaban Island, and Calumpan Peninsula. Batangas Bay has a steep underwater slope, thus for the most part the bay is calm and deep perfect for large ocean going vessel to anchor near the shoreline.

PORT OF ENTRY:  Port of Batangas

This ISO 9001:2008 certified port was first constructed in the middle of 1930’s, its facilities were utilized as the entry/exit for people and products going to and from the Province of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan (MIMAROPA). More importantly, Port of Batangas served as the strategic shipping venue for all industries in the areas of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (CALABARZON-as it was popularly known).

The port facilitates the transport link by land and sea routes using inter-modal buses, ro-ro/lo-lo vessels, motorized out-rigger boats, and mono-hauled/trimaran fastcraft (introduced in 1995) within the Ports of Calapan, Puerto Galera, and Abra de Ilog in Oriental Mindoro. It also links the west coast ports of San Jose and Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro, Ports in Sta. Cruz and Balanacan in the province of Mariduque, Port of Romblon and Odiongan; so does the Port of Coron in Busuanga Island, and major Ports in Cebu, Iloilo, and Cagayan de Oro as well.

Batangas Port form part of Port Authority’s Strong Republic’s Nautical Highway (SRNH) project bridging the island of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in an extensive network of highways and ro-ro inter-connectivity. Western Nautical Highway is composed of RORO Ports linking between:

– Batangas City and Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro;

Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and Caticlan, Aklan;

Dumangas Port, Iloilo  and BREDCO Port, Bacolod City ;

Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental and Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.

Batangas Port ferry schedules and fare, click here: RORO/FERRY 2015 Schedule

How to get here?

Ceres Bus at Batangas Port

Ceres Bus at Batangas Port

Port of Batangas is strategically located on the northeastern section of Batangas Bay along the southwestern part of Luzon. The port is about three to four hours away from Manila’s business and commercial district via South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) which then connects to Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (Star Tollway), and its extension  Alabang -Calamba-Sto. Tomas Toll Expressway (ACTEX).  Bus lines like the RRCG, Ceres Transport, Alps Express, JAM Trans, Supreme Transit Liner Inc., DLTB Co., N. de la Rosa Transit, and Batangas Star Express are amongst competing on this route. You may be familiar with their dashboard signage:

  1. Buendia/Taft-Batangas Pier
  2. Cubao-Batangas Pier
  3. Taft/Pasay-Batangas Pier
  4. Lawton-Batangas Pier
  5. Ortigas-Batangas Pier
  6. Alabang-Batangas Pier

Pre -Development Stage

Batangas Port started its roll on-roll off operation to Mindoro Province in 1981. And by 1994, the volume of  sea-going passengers heading to Calapan, Puerto Galera, and Abra de ilog steadily increased due to influx of vacationers and local tourist during holidays and weekends to take advantage of beautiful sand beach, and breathtaking sceneries that offer leisure and relaxation. Passenger traffic among  various shipping liner with connections to Mindoro’s west coast ports of San Jose and Sablayan, Romblon’s Odiongan and Tablas Port, so does Coron Port in Busuanga Island, have all been picking up its pace in succeeding years thus competing to giant inter-island shipping companies which offers  Manila direct route.

Due to the congestion and over-capacity of Port of Manila in the early years, government agency planners seek alternative ports to address these issues. A major opportunity for development of Batangas Port were then foreseen because of the fact that it sits on a strategic location-which is near proximity to the thriving economic zone of CALABARZON region, the Agri-Marine products of  MIMAROPA, and the growing economies of the provinces in Vis-Min region. It has been established that vessels sailing from major ports of origin around the Visayas and Mindanao area, would likely save fuel and time if it chooses  Batangas Port rather than the usual North or South Harbor as their port of destination, the reason behind it is because sailing to North harbor for example add six hours more; sailing in both the northward and southward direction will cost more fuel and precious time (approximately 12 hours turn around).

Batangas Port then was once considered one of the two most underdeveloped ports in the country (the other is port of Cebu), and  already struggling to accommodate rolling cargo traffic and large number of domestic vessels. Existing port facilities then are “cramped and dilapidated making orderly and efficient operation impossible” (5). The Port itself cannot meet the necessities needed for tourist/passenger’s convenience especially during peak season, thus contributed to the inefficiency in shipping services.

The Port neither had any berth specifically built for ro-ro vessel, thus limiting ferry operators to three companies. It was customary then for a ferry vessel to remain at berth even past their scheduled departure time just waiting to fill all the vacant spaces with vehicles and passengers, forcing the next vessel in-line to wait for more hours for their turn.

In 1981, a preliminary study were made by Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), instituting a plan to relieved Manila’s premier ports of portions of the international and domestic liner shipping trade. A major development project was formed together with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and is considered to be one of the anchor projects for the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon regional development program. It aimed to:

i). Improved the function as the access point to Mindoro Island: To promote the supplies and distribution of agricultural products from Mindoro to Southern Tagalog Region, thereby contributing to the development of Mindoro Island.

ii). Function as a hub port contributing to the economic development of its hinterlands: To stimulate the regional economic development of the Southern Tagalog Region, the industrial heartland of the Philippines.

(iii). Functions relating to the National Capital Region: As a second port to supplement Manila Port’s North and South harbor where traffic congestion is worsening.

In 1984, the Batangas Port Expansion Program were formulated by the Philippine Government and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

On December of 1985, a feasibility study were conducted for the Development Project of Batangas Port (known as Batangas Port Study). It was initiated by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), upon the request from Philippine government and it became the basis for a loan from Japan’s Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF)  for the construction of Phases 1 and Phase 2 project. Within the feasibility study, the development plans were divided between short-term and long-term elements.

Executive Order No. 385, issued by then former President Corazon Aquino on the 19th of December 1989 delineated the territorial jurisdiction of the Port of Batangas, an important moved to increased its land use for future expansion. But it also raises future tensions, problems, issues, resulting to court battles between affected land owners/settlers on the affected community, and government implementing agencies. Issues such as land ownership, forced-eviction, compensation, re-settlement, so on and so forth.

Department of Transportation and Communication likewise were given a task to prepare a National Port Transport Plan to address regional development needs, and comply with the privatization program integrating an inter-modal transport network that would link road, rail, sea, and air transport systems efficiently. Executive Order Nos. 212, paves the way for the deregulation of all government ports in the country.

Batangas Port Development Project (BPDP) of the Philippine Ports Authority was one of the major flagship programs of Philippines 2000, the development plan of then President Fidel Ramos Administration in its bid for a globally competitive economy.

Facilities of Batangas Port before the implementation BPDP

Facilities Size




Construction Date

Pier I Length 135mtrs.Width 15mtrs.Water Depth 6mtrs. Shared between Ro-Ro and general cargo vessel

Under repair

(from typhoon damage)


Pier II Length 48mtrs.Width 12mtrs.Depth 4mtrs.

Shared between Ro-Ro and general cargo vessel

Extremely dilapidated


Pier III Length 85mtrs.Width 15mtrs.Depth 2.67mtrs.

Inner side for ship repair, outer side for barge mooring

Extremely dilapidated


Parallel wharves  Length 93mtr.Width 15mtrs.Depth 7.5mtrs.

General cargo vessels (domestic and foreign)

Wharf entrance

congested with cargo vehicles


Land for Portfacilities

2.6 ha

Offices, customs house, passenger terminal, parking space

Cramped and crowded with vehicles,passengers and cargo.


Vessels serving Batangas Port  in 1994 (MARINA franchised)








PGalera -BTGS-PGalera



PGalera -BTGS-TGLY-BTGS – PGalera

















































Post-Development Stage

Batangas Domestic Cargo Berth

Batangas Domestic Cargo Berth

Phase 1 Project

Domestic area project correspond to the short term portion of Batangas Port Development Plan’s overall plan, and aimed on improving, and expanding the cramped and inadequate facilities of the Port- so that movement of passengers, vehicles, cargoes, and roll-0n-and roll-off vessels become more efficient. It was constructed at a cost of P1.60 billion under the 17th Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF). Completed on march of 1999, three years and seven months behind scheduled completion date of august of 1995. Their new and modern facility includes:

A total berthing capacity of 16 berths with controlling water depth of between 5 to 10 meters, ready to serve at at any given time;

It has a modest capacity to accommodate 11 RORO vessels (six roll-on/roll-off ramp at 680 meters in total length);

It has seven berths for high speed ferries of 540 meters in total length;

and two berthing facilities for cargo vessels of 200 meters in length.

Three fully Air-conditioned Passenger Terminal Buildings (PTB’s) capable of handling three million embarking passengers annually.

A range of modern cargo handling equipment including quay cranes and forklifts are available. A computerized cargo tracking system is also being used.

Storage warehouses, reefer vans, maintenance shop, power and pump houses;

A 25,000 sq. meters of marshalling yard;

It has a total land area of 206,349 square meters.

Batangas VTMS Radar Station 2

Batangas VTMS Radar Station 2

For passenger safety, vessel security, and traffic monitoring along the harbor, baseport Batangas installed a total port security system; this includes vessel traffic management system or VTMS (manned by coast guard personnel). Crowd monitoring system, Gate management system, Mobile x-ray scanning machine, and Harbor patrol craft.

Changes in fastcraft  operation between Batangas and Calapan



(Before completion of the project)


 (After completion of the project)

Number of specialized berths



Number of ferry operators



Round trips for ferry/day



Number of vessels



Crossing time (Batangas ~ Calapan)

45 mins.

45 mins.

Number of departures per day



First and last departures from Batangas

5:00 am/6:30 pm

4:45 am/6:30 pm

Changes in Ro-Ro vessel operation between Batangas  and Calapan



 (Before completion of the project)


 (After completion of the project)

Number of specialized berths



Number of ferry operators



Round trips for ferry/day



Number of vessels



Average vessel GT



Crossing time (Batangas ~ Calapan)

2-3 H


Number of departures per day from



First and last departures from Batangas Port

1 am-9 pm

12:30 am/11:30 pm

Phase II Project

Batangas Port Development Plan Phase II project represent the long-term plan for Batangas Port. Costing three billion pesos,  it sits on 128 hectare expanded area specifically built for large-scale cargo handling, with capacity to handle foreign/domestic cargoes at 4.34 million tons per year (in 2005); to which it could promote its functions as a supplementary port for Manila. It was planned to serve not only the Visayas-Mindanao region, but design to meet the demands of growing trade, and commerce between the countries in the ASEAN region. The Phase II loan agreement was signed on March 1997; assisted by five and a half billion pesos loan grant from Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC). It was inaugurated on January 19, 2008, two months ahead of the scheduled completion.

Phase II Project is subdivided into Packages 1, 2 and 3 namely:

Package 1 are civil and marine works; it includes container terminal and handling equipment instillation (estimated cost of P1.06 billion), general cargo berth, dredging, and reclamation works, building construction and support facilities.

Boarding bridge

One of five boarding bridges installed in Batangas Port.

 Package 2 on the other hand, are construction of five boarding bridges and elevated walkways were completed.

 Package 3, better known as Arterial Road Links Development Project is a port access and flyover construction. These includes the P1.5-billion Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) projects, and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) road widening and expansion project.

Batangas Port Management

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is a government-owned corporation attached to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). It was created by virtue of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 505 dated 11 July 1974, its functions are to coordinate, streamline, improve and optimize the planning, development, financing, construction, maintenance and operations of ports or port system in the country.

The Port District of South Luzon (PDO-SOLUZ) is one of the five (5) port district offices created in 1988, to promote the de-centralization of authority and pursue local and regional development programs and strategies. The District Office supervises the Port Management Offices (PMO) and likewise serves as their linkage with the Philippine Ports Authority’s head office. PDO Southern Luzon has four (4) management offices in its wing, namely;

  1. PMO Batangas (Baseport)
  2. PMO Calapan
  3. PMO Legazpi
  4. PMO Puerto Princesa

On the other hand, Baseport Batangas has the jurisdiction of the six (6) Terminal offices, namely;

  1. TMO BAUAN   Brgy. Aplaya Bauan, Batangas,
  2. TMO LUCENA  Brgy. Talao-Talao, Lucena City
  3. TMO BALANACAN  San Andres Point, Balanacan Marinduque
  4. TMO STA CRUZ  Marinduque
  5. TMO ODIONGAN  Brgy. Batiano, Odiongan Romblon
  6. TMO ROMBLON  Municipality of Romblon,  Romblon Island

Batangas Port is exclusively operated by Aries Arrastre Services Inc. (subsidiary of Asian Terminals Inc.) with the charges set by PPA,  and a prescribed portion of the profits are paid to the PMO Batangas.

Batangas Port Characteristics

LATITUDE: 13° 45.2′ N
LONGITUDE: 121° 06.6″ E

Navigational Approach From the south, between Motoco Point and Malajibo manok  Islands with an opening of 3 ½ miles, white flashing beacon on Malajibomanok Island Center, duration 0.3 seconds every 10 seconds visible within 8 miles in clear weather. Islands and point can be approached within ½ miles.

Anchorage: The anchorage area is 0.37 km. from shoreline, southwest of the piers with depth of 27.4 to 32.9 meters mud bottom. During southwest monsoon, vessels may anchor off Mabini, Batangas. Good holding grounds off 0.46 km. from the shoreline, with depths of 21.9 to 25.6m. Foreign vessels find good anchorage area southwest of the piers.

Sea Distance:

Batangas to Calapan- approximately 25.65 nautical miles

Batangas to Puerto Galera- approximately 15.47 nautical miles

Batangas to Manila- approximately 92.23 nautical miles (via North of Maricaban Island)

Batangas to Cebu- approximately 303 nautical miles.


1. Batangas Port Development Project

2. http://bulatlat.com/main/2007/02/10/12-years-of-privatization-of-the-port-of-batangas/

3. batangascity.gov.ph
4. Nathan Associates Inc. 1994. Liner Shipping Route Study, Final Report, vols. 1 and 14. Manila: United States Agency for International Development.

5. Dr. Emma Porio, Demolition and Resettlement of Sta. Clara Residents: Policy, Politics, and Personalities in the Batangas Port Development Project. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

6. Myrna S. Austria, 2003. Liberalization and Deregulation in the Domestic Shipping Industry: Effects on Competition and Market Structure.

7. philippines.wikia.com/wiki/Batangas

8. Introduction & summary of Batangas Port presentation by JICA-JCCIPI

9. pdosoluz.com.ph

Featured Philippine Ports: The Manila South Harbor

Manila bay sunset

Manila bay sunset as viewed here at South Harbor.


Being a maritime nation sea transports are the major means of moving various goods, and people from one island province to another. Majority of these products, and materials are either exported or imported to/from this country thru maritime exchanges. During early existence of Port of Manila, its transformation  from being the important trading center during galleon trade, to the “Trade center of the Pacific” during American colonialism, has been very significant in the eyes of experts.

Manila Port or Port of Manila as it was called today, is presently the country’s foremost gateway to foreign commerce, and is considered one of important maritime hub in Asia-Pacific region; and was envisioned by experts to be the alternative maritime center to Hongkong and Singapore.

Port Distance in Nautical Miles.

Iloilo City 340
Cebu City 392
Surigao City 459
Cagayan de Oro City 504
Davao City 821
Hong Kong SAR 637
Singapore 1,310
Japan 1,783

The Port of Manila is divided by the following sectors, namely:

  1. South Harbor (Baseport)
  2. North Harbor (Baseport)
  3. Manila International Container Terminal (MICT)
  4. Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) 

The above listed Port Terminals are the core of Ports of Manila, and both administered by Philippine Ports Authority; a government owned and controlled corporation duly authorized by the law to develop and manage public ports, regulate port services, selection of port operators, and determination of collection levies for port related services. [1]

PORT OF ENTRY:  The Manila South Harbor 

Manila South Harbor facility is one of 123 government owned ports administered by the Philippine Ports Authority. It is a multi-cargo port with modern five-finger type pier, which handles all types of cargo, including containers, bulk cargo, break-bulk, general cargo, and vehicles. Bulk cargoes are handled at berth and at designated anchorages. South Harbor handles large chunks of international shipping traffic in the country, with annual capacity of 820,000 more or less container vans.

Former Manila Port Terminal now the office of PMO-South Harbor.

Former Manila Port Terminal now the office of PMO-South Harbor.

Port Management of South Harbor (PMO-South Harbor) is under the direct management of the Port District of Manila(PDO-Manila/North Luzon). Whereas Terminal Management Office of Pasig (TMO-Pasig) located along the Pasig river falls under the jurisdiction of PMO South Harbor.

 Port’s vehicular/pedestrian access

Main approach is through Bonifacio drive, a six lane highway of  which has accessed to the North harbor and Manila International Container Port in Tondo via Delpan bridge. The said highway also link major cities in the south like Pasay, Paranaque, and Cavite thru Roxas boulevard (formerly Dewey boulevard). Entrance to the harbor is through the four gates found at 25th street (Eva Macapagal Super Terminal, Gate 1), 16th street,13th street(Roberto S. Oca Sr. Gate), and 8th street.

Port  Characteristics

Territorial AreaSouth Harbor has been extended eastward up to Bonifacio drive, by virtue of Executive Order No. 321 issued last March 17, 1988. [2] The expansion resulted in an increased of jurisdictional area by about 26.9 hectares from 58 hectares for a total of 85 hectares excluding wharf zone. Its shoreline is protected by some 10,000 feet of rock barriers enclosing about 600 hectares of anchorage.

Geographical Coordinates:

Latitude – 14° 36.2″ N

Longitude – 120° 58.0″ E

Harbor Type:  Coastal Breakwater

Harbor Sized:  Large

Water Depth:

CHANNEL 31 – 35 feet
9.4 – 10 meters
ANCHORAGE 16 – 20 feet
4.9 – 6.1 meters
CARGO PIER 36 – 40 feet
11 – 12.2 meters
OIL TERMINAL 26 – 30 feet
7.1 – 9.1 meters

Source: World Port Source. [3]

 Port Topography

South Harbor directly faces Manila Bay, a semi-enclosed estuary facing the West Philippine Sea, and regarded as one of the best natural harbors in the pacific. Manila bay serves as the major navigational lane that accommodates all type of maritime vessels, large or small type. Container/Bulk ships coming from domestic and international port mostly dominates the sea-lanes of Manila bay; bringing with them raw materials, and/or finish goods to support the entire populace of the metro, and the entire country as well.  The bay, can be approached through an 18 kilometers wide channel  in which Corregidor, El Fraile Island, and Caballo Islands are situated. Manila bay is surrounded by Bataan Peninsula to the west, and Cavite to the south.

 Entrance Channel

South Harbor's south breakwater

South Harbor’s south breakwater

South Harbor's west breakwater

South Harbor’s west breakwater

The fairway (navigational channel) of South Harbor is about 200 meters wide and 3,000 meters long. It runs through an opening about 300 meters wide between the South and West breakwaters. The depth of the channel is approximately 11.6 meters below mean low water (MLW) or deeper along its full length. [4]

Port Facilities

Pier 3: For container vessels only, with five (5)  berths;

Pier 5: For general cargo vessel with seven (7) berths, and  18.2 hectares of container yard space; it is the primary area for container operations.

Between Pier 3, and Pier 5 is a beaching point where amphibious vessel docks. Across Pier 3 is a barge pool capable of accommodating 30 barges/lighters at any given time. [5]

Barge used to haul liquid cargo to and from Pasig River.

Barge used to haul liquid cargo to and from Pasig River.

Barging operations are regularly conducted along Pasig river. Tugs usually pulls one or two barges containing  liquid bulk like fuel, oil, chemicals, molasses, as well as wheat, and other agricultural raw products. These products coming  from either vessels moored/or anchored along South Harbor, and then transported to several manufacturing establishment found along the banks of Pasig river. [6]

Pier 9: For general cargo vessel with one (1) berth, with a total lenght of 320 meters and 10.5 meters draft.

Pier 13 South Harbor

Pier 13 South Harbor

Pier 13  formerly owned and operated by United States government for the exclusive used of its Army, and Navy vessel during post war era, are now assigned as special anchorage area for Philippine Coast Guard’s search and rescue (SAR) vessels; so does the vessel namedAng Pangulo, a then former presidential yacht (now assigned as BRP Pag-asa, and turned to a naval auxiliary vessel). A roll-on roll-off ramp can also be found in between Pier 13 and Pier 9.

Ferry service terminal on the other hand is located at slip between Pier 13 and Pier 15. It serve as landing point for small craft for ship crew, quarantine and custom officer, ship agents, and other passenger going to and from vessel at anchorage. A pilot boarding station is also located in this area. [6]

South Harbor's Pier 15

South Harbor’s Pier 15

Pier 15   has five berths suited for containerized roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) and load-on, load-off (lo-lo) operations. In this pier is the location of Eva Macapagal Super Terminal or EMST, it used to be the domestic passenger terminal when North Harbor is under going improvements. EMST by the way is popularly known as the home, and base of operation for Aboitiz Superferry- before it was acquired by Negros Navigation. Pier 15 also provides berthing facilities for cruise ships and visiting warships.

China Clipper landing marker found in Luneta Park, just a few meters from Manila Hotel.

China Clipper landing marker found in Luneta Park, just a few meters from Manila Hotel.

The headquarters of Philippine Coast Guard, can also be found here, whilst the towering Manila Hotel a stone throw away from  Muelle de San Francisco can be seen and access through a few minutes of walk . Further ahead,  maybe a hundreds of a meters from the wharf of Manila hotel-where MS Philippines  (sold as scrap two years ago)- is the location of a marker of a China Clipper seaplane landing on 29th of February 1935, see above photos.

The Eva Macapagal Super Terminal   started its operation in 2003, and  is named after the late first lady of  former President Diosdado Macapagal. These passenger terminal building is one of the country’s biggest, and most expensive passenger terminal with modern and high-tech facility, with first class amenities that caters Cruise Ship passengers to date. These 2,878 square meters facility have a 1,700 seating capacity, with fully air-conditioned lounge complete with food and beverage kiosk for hungry passengers awaiting for boarding calls; TV sets, public address system, public telephone booths, clean rest rooms, ticketing booths and a clinic with qualified medical personnel are also provided for the convenience of travelers. [7]

A view of Manila South Harbor Anchorage

A view of Manila South Harbor Anchorage

Anchorages  There are four  anchorage basins in South Harbor and are assigned as A, B, C, and Q anchorage.  A anchorage  can be found  within the confines of the South and West breakwaters;  anchorage B and C are both outside the breakwaters. Anchorage Q on the other hand can be located far off-shore, and is exclusively used for Port’s Quarantine requirements.

Port Operator

ATI Office Building located at Bonifacio Drive, South Harbor Manila.

ATI Office Building located at Bonifacio Drive, South Harbor Manila.

Asian Terminals Inc. (controlled by Dubai’s DP World) a premier seaport and logistic investor, developer, and operator in the country is the sole container terminal and multi-cargo operator of South Harbor.

Contracted by Philippine Ports Authority to render container/cargo handling services since 1992,  ATI has been awarded a new 25 year extension to its contract to “manage, develop, maintain, operate, and render container terminal handling, stevedoring, arrastre, storage, porterage, passenger terminal management, and other related services” at South Harbor until May 18, 2038.[8]

The company utilizes seven Quay Cranes (35.5 to 55 tons capacity), 19 Rubber tired Gantry Cranes (40 to 40.6 tons capacity), three Reachstackers (42 to 45 tons capacity), side-loaders, and floating crane among others.

Facilities includes six (6) international container berth (Pier 3 and 5) with total area of 5,000 sq. meters. Nine (9) general cargo berths (Pier 5 and 9), and one (1) domestic cargo/passenger terminal (Pier 15).

Manila South Harbor Statistics








CARGO in m.t.








Passenger Traffic
















Containers handled








Source: @ppa.com.ph/port statistics [9].

 Port History

Pre-World War II

The development of Philippine trade by Spanish regime ended upon the American occupations. In succeeding years of Commonwealth government, Manila was then open to foreign trade with freer and more liberal economic system-thereby increasing the domestic and foreign trade traffic.

Trade under the American administration were prosperous,  Manila then enjoyed one of the most flourishing trades in the Orient; overseas commerce steadily increased with United States represent as major trading country. With its port facilities in Pasig river which are too small, a plan to create port facilities along Manila Bay was envisioned by Americans; and in 1937, renovation of the South Harbor begins. Port construction includes installation of warehouses to accommodate large volume of cargoes, construction of  berthing space for ocean going vessel, and construction of new Custom house replacing the old Aduana building located in Pasig river; but the said construction was cut short due to the outbreak of World War two.

Prior to the war, South harbor had four finger piers and a marginal wharf for  ocean going vessels  of deep drafts. One of these piers were considered during that time as “One of the finest in the world and the longest in the far east”. [10]

Shipping facilities of South Harbor during Pre-war period

Manila harbor comprises an anchorage area of about 1,250 acres of the Manila bay partially enclosed and well protected by a rock-breakwater wall.

Pier 1;  is exclusively owned, and operated by the United States Government for the exclusive use of its Army and Navy vessels. Whereas the harbors, piers, wharves, and equipment installed at ports are owned, administered, and controlled by the commonwealth government thru Manila Harbor board.

Piers 3, 5, and 7; complete with modern cargo-handling equipment consisting of electric heavy lift crane, interior electric hoist, electric tractor,  piped provision for fresh water, and bunker fuel oil among others are both available for Cargo/Passenger carrying vessels. [11]

 The aftermath of World War II

During early stage of the war, these harbor installations particularly the South Harbor are subject to intense bombing raids by Japanese invasion forces, and later by the U.S Liberation forces.

At the end of the war sunken vessels littered the entire harbor. Many of the port facilities suffered extensive damages rendering them not useable to shipping activities.

Immediately after the liberation of the entire country, the commonwealth government started the repair and clearing works for Manila harbor particularly the South harbor facilities. Under Rehabilitation Act of 1946 (Public Law 370, passed by US Congress), funds were allocated for the rehabilitation for Port of Manila under supervision of a branch of the U.S. Corps of Engineer who undertakes all phases of the works in consultation with the Philippine Port Commission.

Obstructions to navigation along Manila bay leading to this pier were removed, and dredge works along the channel particularly near the mouth of Pasig River were conducted by the U.S. Army, and U.S Navy Engineers. [12]


1. Philippine Ports Authority

2.  Executive Order No. 321

3. http://www.worldportsource.com/ports/portCall/PHL_Port_of_Manila_1947.php

4.   http://www.ppa.com.ph/South%20Harbor/south_aboutUs_southHarbor.htm

5.  http://www.supermanning.com/Manila.htm

6.  Philippine Ports: Gateway to Maritime Trade 2004

7. Eva Macapagal Super Terminal

8. ATI extend cargo handling… Manila Bulletin (10/20/07)

9. Philippine Port Authority/Port Statistics

10. Port of Manila and other Philippine Ports. Yearbook 1949.

11.  Port of Manila: Trade Center of the Pacific, Yearbook 1939.

12. Port of Manila and other Philippine Ports, Yearbook 1949.

Further reading: Competition Policy and Regulation in Ports and Shipping, Philippine Institute of Development Studies by Gilberto M. Llanto et. al