Friday, September 15, 2006

Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR)

OPASCOR is not just an ordinary arrastre and stevedoring corporation but a successful workers’ enterprise in the country today.

OPASCOR started in 1990 with little cash in hand. The government owned National Stevedoring and Ligherage Corp. (NLSC) was privatized and workers were out of jobs.

Of the P12 million retirement benefits of former workers of the NSLC, 60 percent went to the defunct government corporation in exchange for dilapidated equipment and permit to operate, five percent to the corporation (OPASCOR), and 30 percent their take home pay.

This made OPASCOR a workers’ enterprise, owned by all workers.In a short span of time, OPASCOR was able to modernize its cargo handling equipment, including the gantry crane after its officials went on window shopping at various international ports in South East Asia and Europe.

By 1999, OPASCOR, an exclusive cargo handler at CIP, had already grown into a very big company, with an estimated assets of P250 million.

To maintain OPASCOR as a workers’ enterprise it ahs been a policy to require that shareholders to return their shares of stocks to the company if they need cash during retirement, so it can be re-disposed by gratuitous stock dividend to incumbent workers.

OPASCOR was able to secure renewal of its contract with CPA with validity until 2013. If OPASCOR could put up the state of the art bulk handling equipment, its operations could automatically be extended by CPA up to 2028.

Based on performance audit prior to the renewal of contract, the CPA found out that OPASCOR loads and unloads 28-30 container vans per hour, a figure 30 percent higher compared to its counterpart in Manila.

OPASCOR is also charging lower handling tariff which is about ½ of Manila and is said to be advantageous to Cebu’s economy because more shippers choose Cebu as their transshipment point of cargoes in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Until Now, OPASCOR’s efficiency as the exclusive cargo handler of the Cebu Ports Authority is unparalleled--- something the workers can tout of, after all--- OPASCOR is a Workers’ Enterprise.


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