Port of Cagayan

All Transport Network – Philippines

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Interview with

Ms. Penny Estrada

Director, Overseas Business Development
Penny Estrada

Firstly, when was All Transport Network established and who owns it? 

All Transport Network (ATN) was founded in August 1986 after the Philippines’ EDSA People Power Revolution which overthrew a dictatorship. It was quite a challenging but also an opportune time for my mother, Marylou Estrada, to start a business in international trade at the age of twenty-eight. It remains a privately-owned company with Marylou being the majority owner. 

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The Philippines is a country consisting of many islands and it has many ports. Could you elaborate for our readers about the main ports in your country used for foreign trade and oversized cargo?

The current government has taken steps in improving the country’s infrastructure, including connectivity to/from our 7,107 islands. 

We have three major island clusters, the major ports of which are:
In Luzon, there are the Port of Manila (three terminals), Batangas International Port (two terminals) and Port of Subic.
In the Visayas, there is Cebu International Port.
In Mindanao, there are the Port of Cagayan de Oro, Port of Davao and Port of General Santos.

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All locations have a minimum of one terminal with the capacity to handle oversized cargo, though this capacity varies per terminal, based on the requirements. The available and capable facilities, manpower and equipment to handle oversize cargo varies per terminal operator. 

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Renewable energy projects are now popular around the world. Have you much experience in moving projects within this field? Or any other heavy or oversized pieces overall? Could you provide us with a few examples?

Indeed, renewables are rightfully gaining momentum and we are very happy to witness this in the Philippines as we are attracting foreign investment in this industry. ATN has handled the following projects:

Cal Energy Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Hydro Plant.

Cavite Biofuel Producers Inc Bio Fuel Plant.

Various solar panels distributed across the country.

ATN has more in the pipeline, though these projects could take years to materialise. ATN is involved even at the planning/budgeting stage. Since renewables tend to be in remote areas, island logistics and multimodal transport are required.

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Tell us about customs clearance in the Philippines. Are there any rules of thumb or good pieces of advice that you can give our readers? 

Customs clearance is one of the biggest challenges in trading with the Philippines. It is so important to have a reliable, hands-on and well-informed partner to avoid unnecessary expenses and headaches. We at ATN have an in-house customs clearance department and offices in Philippine Economic Zone Areas (PEZA) to support our clients.

The minimum requirements are an import license and registration with the Philippine customs. Knowing the commodity and purpose of the project (e.g. factory expansion, real estate development, building a manufacturing facility for exports, etc) are central in considering any exemptions and other licenses/certificates needed if any. It is always sensible to allow give-or-take three weeks’ processing time for said exemptions/licenses/certificates. 

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Do you currently belong to any networks and if so why? 

Yes, this is instrumental for ATN to meet our clients’ needs and to fulfil our vision of promoting Philippine trade. We are a proud ‘local hero’ with global capabilities. 

ATN is a founding member of Worldwide Independent Network, the CLC Projects network and Neutral Air Partner. Each network has its purpose, with CLC and NAP having niche specialities in project cargo and air freight, respectively. 

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What do you like about being in freight forwarding and logistics? 

I like working in an industry where everything I read in the newspaper directly affects my work. I like seeing how the business moves as usual despite any political respite. 

Growing up, I aspired to be a diplomat due to my natural interest in connecting different processes and cultures. I took this to heart when I was at MSC New York working in service contracts within the U.S. to North Europe lane and am still passionate up until now, handling global partnerships for ATN. The better question is, what’s not to like?

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How do you see the outlook business-wise for the Philippines next year? 

The ASEAN region is having its moment and the Philippines is riding on the same momentum with an average GDP at 6-7% over the past five years. Like our neighbours and other developing countries, we have our domestic woes that obstruct businesses and I am pushing for a more sustainable/long-term approach for the country. However, the entrepreneurial spirit, domestic consumption and investment attractiveness are all present here.

ATN just recently opened our 6000 sqm logistics centre in Las Pinas, Metro Manila with temperature-controlled rooms for pharma and our art handling division. This, to me, reflects the company’s direction to adapt to the growing PH market.

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How would you recommend people get in touch with you?

You can e-mail me at estrada.penny@atn.com.ph, or add me on LinkedIn. I’m always keen to start a dialogue with curious minds!

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