A Singapore-based cargo shipping company has picked the Mindanao International Container Terminal Port (MICTP) in Misamis Oriental as one of its major transshipment points, further bolstering Northern Mindanao’s position as the newest and fastest-growing transshipment hub in the Philippines.

Last week’s signing of the supplemental service-level agreement between MICTP and Marianas Express Line-Philippines (MEL) also bolstered MICTP’s contribution toward pump-priming Mindanao’s economy, said Nimfa Along-Albania, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corp. (Phividec) in Northern Mindanao.

“This is the first step toward the realization of that dream,” she said.

The MICTP is one of the locators of the Phividec Industrial Estate (PIE-MO) in the municipalities of Tagoloan and Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.  PIE-MO is under the Phividec Industrial Authority of the Department of National Defense. Most PIE-MO locators are registered with the Philippine Export Zone Authority.

David Lim, MEL country manager, said during the supplemental service-level agreement signing last Thursday at the MICTP, his company “found this [MICTP] area as very encouraging to serve the growing international trade.”

Lim said  MICTP’s becoming a major transshipment hub for international cargo shipping plays a vital role in expediting the ever-increasing flow of international cargoes in the region because of its very strategic location.

As a transshipment port, MICTP would serve as MEL’s hub of operations where cargoes from the Asia Pacific and other Asian countries, the Middle East, Europe and New Zealand can easily be transported to its port of destination.

This alone makes Northern Mindanao, particularly Misamis Oriental, among the Philippines’ major transshipment hubs.

But MICTP still has to attract more oceangoing cargo-shipping lines to pass through it for it to be at par, if not surpass Singapore as the world’s busiest port with about one-fifth of the world’s container-shipping companies making the Port of Singapore as their transshipment point.

This contributes to making Singapore as Asia’s biggest economy.

Along-Albania is very optimistic that MEL’s move to make MICTP as its major port of call will help attract the world’s container shippers to also make the terminal port their transshipment point and cement Northern Mindanao’s reputation as the fastest-growing economy in the country.

The MICTP has helped make Northern Mindanao as the export capital of Mindanao, the regional chapter of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport-10) based here said.

Philexport-10 said Northern Mindanao’s export since 2006 has been growing at an annual average of 15.8 percent, which it attributed to the MICTP and the Cagayan de Oro City Port.

From this city’s base port and MICTP, export shipments went across the globe through eight international shipping lines.

MEL’s move makes it the ninth international shipping line that has made MICTP or the Cagayan de Oro City Port as its major port of call.

Bureau of Customs collector Lowell L. Medija said MEL’s making MICTP one of its ports of call will eventually make Northern Mindanao as No.1 in revenue collection.

The Cagayan de Oro City Port and MICTP ranked second only to Cebu City in terms of revenue collection in the Visayas-Mindanao region, she said.

Medija said that during the first quarter of this year, MICTP posted more than a 50-percent increase in its containerized cargo handling compared with last year.

Data showed that containerized volume reached 37,940 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from January to March this year, way above the previous year’s 24,868 TEUs.

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