The Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) approved on June 13, 2021 the application for project development support by the City Governments of Alaminos and Dagupan in Pangasinan and San Fernando in La Union, Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC), Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, and the NEDA Regional Office 1 for the Tri-City Ferry System (TCFS) Project.

CDIA, a multi-donor trust fund managed by the Asian Development Bank, will finance and oversee the conduct of a project preparation study (PPS) for the proposed TCFS. The two-stage PPS will initially confirm that the ferry system is the appropriate transport project for the cities and subsequently prepare a feasibility study and preliminary engineering design for the TCFS that is expected to be managed and operated through a suitable PPP modality.

The TCFS Project is projected to decongest traffic flow in the cities and increase the time savings of passengers, connect the regional, provincial and city hubs, and boost the tourism potential of the loop and the region in rejuvenating the coastal communities as part of environmental and urban renewal.

This potential PPP project aims to engage a private sector partner for the: (a) finance, design and construction of ferry terminals in the Cities of Alaminos and Dagupan, Pangasinan, and floating piers in San Fernando City, La Union for the embarking and alighting of passengers; (b) operation and maintenance of the three ferry terminals of Alaminos City, Dagupan City, and San Fernando City; (c) provision of ferry services to traverse major demand centers, including maintenance of the vessels according to industry standards and existing rules and regulation on sea navigation; and (d) conduct of further marketing and promotional activities to ensure that facilities will harness the cultural and natural wonders of the areas within the loop.

CDIA is currently finalizing the Terms of Reference and the procurement for Consultancy Services for the PPS will commence this July.

The approval is a welcome development for the initiative that was conceptualized more than ten years ago and revived in 2018. It also complements the efforts of PPMC within the Poro Point Freeport Zone in the City of San Fernando, La Union in support for the TCFS with the construction of a PhP40-million multi-purpose passenger terminal building funded by the Department of Transportation.