South Korean firm offers to modernize Cagayan’s Port Irene

TUGUEGARAO CITY — A South Korean company, through its Philippine subsidiary, has offered to undertake the expansion and modernization of Port Irene in Santa Ana, Cagayan in a proposal to dredge its harbor and reinforce its pier that would allow large cargo and cruise vessels to dock there.

Saying that it is “a breakthrough proposal at no cost to the government,” Secretary Raul Lambino, administrator and chief executive officer of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, said the proposed expansion and modernization would be done by Fairbridge Overseas Development-Philippines, Inc. or FODPI, the local subsidiary of a South Korean firm of the same name.

“It will mark the beginning of the development of Port Irene to its full potential,” he said.

Lambino and FODPI president Kim Myung Hwan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently, setting the scope of the project.

Port Irene in Cagayan’s northernmost tip is the jewel of the Cagayan Economic Zone and Freeport but poor port conditions and inadequate infrastructure have set back its development using its advantage of being along the Northern Pacific’s major international shipping lanes.

The proposed modernization includes dredging of the navigational channel, upgrading of existing piers and wharves and reinforcing the one-kilometer concrete breakwater and repairing its storm-damaged portions.

Under the MOU, Fairbridge would get the sea sand dredged from the harbor and its periphery and use the harbor for its business.

Fairbridge planned to contract local labor for the manufacture of building materials made out of sea sand for its mass housing project and for the importation and local sale of the product. Bill Visaya/