BAGPAN CITY, Philippines (Reuters) – In Davao, builders who make pump bars are busy making barges for the world’s biggest trucking company.
Davao-based logistics company Sabal is building its first commercial cargo container for its logistics subsidiary, Sabal Marine, which it says can carry as much as 4,500,000 tonnes of cargo a day.
The container will be the largest in the world when it is fully operational, according to Sabal’s head of logistics, Ramiro Mendoza.
The company says Sabal will have to ship about 7,000,000 barrels of crude oil a day (bpd) of its products to the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The move will help boost the company’s competitiveness in the booming South China Sea, a key trading route for China and its Southeast Asian allies.
The Davao-based container shipping company said it plans to start commercial operations in 2019.
The Sabal project is part of Sabal Holdings, which is controlled by the Philippine government, and it has been working on the project for several years.
Its chief executive, Jose Antonio Mendoja, said Sabal was able to leverage its existing facilities in Davos, including a port and a refinery, to expand its capacity and build the new container.
It also plans to establish its first logistics base in the Philippines, which will help reduce the company to just a few dozen employees, he said.
Davao is the Philippines’ commercial hub, home to some of the world’ largest port facilities and major industries.
But many Davos residents worry about its worsening air quality and its proximity to Manila.
The city has been ranked among the top five pollution hotspots in the globe by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Its air quality has been deemed one of the worst in the Asia Pacific region.
A government plan last year to make the city safer has also prompted some to relocate to other cities, particularly to Manila, where there are now more than 10,000 residents.
A number of local politicians have also criticized the city government’s decision to move residents to the city center.
Duterte is the only president since 1946 who has held office on the island of Mindanao, which shares a border with the Philippines.
The Philippines is one of Southeast Asia’ most populous countries with a population of nearly 7 million.