Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Importers of used vehicles move from Subic to Cagayan's Port Irene

Importers of used vehicles find haven in Cagayan’s Port Irene
By Charlie Lagasca, The Philippine Star

PORT IRENE, Santa Ana, Cagayan — Importers and dealers of used vehicles have found a new haven in this northernmost town.

Julian Gonzales, principal engineer of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), said the slightly used vehicles arriving here mostly come from Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

Since last June 28, four shipments have arrived in this international seaport, with the first comprising of 249 slightly used vehicles.

At present, more than 700 vehicles, each costing P200,000 to P700,000, depending on the quality, brand and model, are up for sale.

Port Irene, named after one of the daughters of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, was established in the 1980s. The CEZA, created in 1992 during the administration of President Fidel Ramos, is managing it.

A number of used car importers from the Subic Bay Freeport have shifted their business here.

Belying reports of alleged smuggling here, Abe Peralta, port operations officer, said all imported vehicles arriving here are properly monitored and documented and have to pass through legal procedures before they are sold.

Peralta said they had to hire former Subic workers to convert the right-hand-drive vehicles to left-hand drives. He added, though, that they would hire locals in the future.

He said seven former Subic-based used car importers have found their way to Port Irene, with more expressing their desire to relocate here.

Port Irene is some three hours through a well-paved highway from Tuguegarao City, the provincial capital.
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