INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) said on Wednesday that it is hoping to invest further in information technology (IT) at its main port in Manila, with the goal of expanding the facility’s productivity.

ICTSI said in a statement that it has invested more than P900 million in IT for its flagship Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) in the last 10 years and hopes to “continue to take advantage of new technologies to push… efficiencies for the benefit of our customers.”

According to ICTSI Executive Vice-President Christian R. Gonzalez, the MICT investments are meant to crisis-proof the terminal, safeguard shipments and system processes, and maximize operational efficiency.

ICTSI recently partnered with PLDT, Inc. to roll out fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology at the MICT.

“The MICT is currently utilizing the technology to automatically weigh containers using spreader load cells in rubber-tired gantries (RTG). Having this feature helps shorten truck drivers’ stay at the port as they no longer need to queue to use the terminal’s weigh bridges,” the company said.

“5G technology is an important cornerstone of MICT’s journey towards becoming the first smart port in the Philippines. Other 5G-integrated projects in the pipeline include truck driver messaging, remote safety monitoring using intelligent surveillance systems and remote crane monitoring using Internet of Things devices and sensors — all of which are aimed at improving safety and efficiency of port operations while reducing foot traffic inside the terminal,” it added.

The company is currently developing an application for the MICT, which will give port users access to services such as “Track & Trace” across multiple ICTSI terminals and online payment.

“The MICT is gearing up to launch its online examination viewing portal pending approval from the Department of Agriculture. The portal will enable brokers to observe the Bureau of Customs’ examination of containers without being physically present at the terminal,” the company said.

ICTSI recently reported a 58% rise in first-quarter attributable net profit to $142.3 million.

The increase was “primarily due to higher operating income; increase in equity share in net profit of joint ventures; and strong contribution of new terminals; partially tapered by increase in depreciation and amortization, and interest on loans, concession rights payables and lease liabilities,” the company said in a statement.

Revenue rose 21% to $528.3 million, while EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, rose 28% to $337.9 million.

Consolidated volume was 2.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units in the first quarter, up 5% from a year earlier.

ICTSI shares closed 0.82% lower at P218 on Wednesday. — Arjay L. Balinbin