Dubai-based firm eyes setting up industrial park in Pampanga

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

January 19, 2023

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MANILA – Dubai-based logistics firm DP World has expressed interest to establish an industrial park at Clarkfield in Pampanga province, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

This developed after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. met with the executives of DP World on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday (Zurich time), Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.

“Logistics company DP World on Wednesday committed to expanding its operations in the Philippines and eyes to set up an industrial park in Clarkfield in Pampanga, following a meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.,” Garafil said.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairperson and chief executive officer of DP World, told Marcos during the meeting that the logistics company has been developing industrial parks in multiple nations and has successful ventures in Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.

DP World also develops industrial parks in Senegal, Egypt, India and Pakistan.

“We are committed to investing in the Philippines; we’re committed to expand,” Bin Sulayem, as quoted by the PCO, said. “So we’re interested in the Philippines, in industrial parks.”

Marcos, in response, said the Philippine government has to decide on possible sites in terms of operations, planning and ideal location to spur local development.

“And if it’s viable and those areas are actually useful for your operation, then, that would be something that we can immediately develop,” Marcos said, expressing his administration’s openness to public-private partnerships for infrastructure development.

Since its inception in 1972 as a local port operator in Dubai, DP World has transformed into a global logistics provider in over 69 countries and across every continent.

To date, DP World now moves 10 percent of the global trade through seamless, interconnected global network of ports and terminals, economic and free zones, logistics hubs and marine services.

With 90 percent of the transportation coming by the sea in the Philippines, Bin Sulayem said DP World can add value to the supply chain, with sea transportation being the cheapest means of moving cargo.

‘Timely’ participation

In an interview in Davos on Wednesday, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Marcos’ participation in WEF is “very timely” to “sell” the Philippines in foreign business leaders and investors.

Diokno said WEF serves as a platform for the Marcos administration to tell the “very nice story” of the Philippines.

Maraming na-accomplish (There are so many accomplishments),” he said, referring to Marcos’ accomplishments during his participation in WEF. “Naipaliwanag naman natin ‘yung Philippine economy. Ang purpose talaga nito is to sell the country – nasaan tayo, ganun (We are able to explain the status of the Philippine economy. Our purpose here is to really sell the country).”

More investments

Senator Mark Villar, in a separate interview, expressed confidence that Marcos’ trip to Switzerland will attract more investments in the country.

Marcos’ meeeting with business leaders, presentation of the country’s economic success, and introduction of the proposed sovereign wealth fund will all redound to the benefit of the country, Villar said.

“At kapag nagkaroon po ng additional investment, siyempre po dadami po ang opportunities sa ating bansa, dadami po ‘yung job opportunities sa ating bansa at lalong aasenso ang ating ekonomiya (And if we secure additional investment, there will be more job opportunities in our country which will pave the way for the further development of our economy),” he said.

Marcos has been holding a series of meetings with several international business leaders to discuss investment opportunities in the Philippines.

Marcos said the business meetings will allow potential investors to know the government’s policy, legislation and rules to make the country more conducive for business.

“We always come up against the issues of the ease of doing business. These are things that we are already slowly improving. And I say slow because it’s never fast enough but at least I think we can already see some progress on that,” he said. (PNA)