Traffic along the major routes leading to the Port of Manila will not get better unless the premier shipping gateway expands and decongests itself, or a dedicated highway is built for trucks that transport container vans.
Traffic enforcers in Manila are also not helping to ease the situation. They have become part of the problem by refusing to cite errant jeepney and bus drivers and illegally parked vehicles.
The expanding economy as shown by increased export and import cargo volumes will further contribute to the port congestion. But decongesting the port and easing the traffic could be done effectively through an alternative transport mode, such as those in other parts of the world.
International Container Terminal Services Inc., one the main operators in the Port of Manila, will start operating an inland container terminal in Barangays Banlic and San Cristobal in Calamba City, Laguna on March 2. The inland terminal, according to ICTSI, will serve as an extension of the seaport operations of its Manila International Container Terminal in the Port of Manila.
The depot is expected to function as a regional logistics hub, which will serve and support the operations of exporters and importers, both within and outside the economic zones in the Calabarzon area. Just 58 kilometers from Metro Manila, the inland container terminal will be situated on a 21-hectare property that is strategically located near various economic export zones and an existing adjacent railroad.
The inland terminal actually involves the revival of the Manila-Calamba cargo intermodal system that ceased operations over a decade ago due to company losses brought by lower demand. ICTSI, meanwhile, plans to incorporate rail provisions into the new MICT yard to augment the 21-hectare Laguna inland container terminal.
This means the Laguna depot will be linked to the MICT by road and later by rail to ensure a seamless transfer of cargo from the Port of Manila to the economic zones south of Metro Manila.
The Calamba inland terminal project and its rail feature should inspire the government to look at the train system as the better alternative mode of transportation in Metro Manila. The traffic in Metro Manila is the worst in Asia simply because the capital region does not have an efficient operating rail system.