Clark: on its way to becoming one of the premier gateways of the Philippines

Clark International Airport is now being considered as one of the emerging gateways to trade and logistics in the Philippines. That’s why Clark Freeport Zone is in the best position to get the full benefits of having logistic operators to locate their hubs in Clark for their operations.

According to logistics industry professionals, the most important drivers of logistics growth are: 1) good quality transport infrastructure, 2) favorable government regulations, 3) access to global chains, 4) availability of skilled labor, 5) access to education and skills development in the domestic population, 6) availability of cheap labor, and 7) internet accessibility. Where does Clark Freeport Zone stand in all these criteria?

First, a location that is strategically located at the intersection of major transportation routes, such as highways, rail lines, and waterways, can be a key factor in the emergence of a trade and logistics gateway.

The availability of high-quality transportation infrastructure, including roads, rail lines, ports, and airports, is essential for efficient movement of goods and services. Clark should get a high rating on this as its location really right in the middle of the bustling Central Luzon Region, and the rest of the country. Clark can be accessed through air through the Clark International Airport that has access to nearby domestic airports like Subic in Zambales, Plaridel in Bulacan, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Daniel Atienza in Cavite, NAIA in Metro Manila. CRK is also accessible to the rest of the country’s international airports in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and to other destinations in the country. On the international side, CRK also caters to flights and cargoes coming from ASEAN and Asian countries, Middle East, Europe and the United States.

Although Clark is a landlocked area, the massive road connections provide immediate access to the major seaports in the country. From Clark, access to the West Philippine Sea is through the Port of Subic Bay which can reached through the SCTEX. Access to the Pacific Ocean is through the Port of Dinagalan in Aurora province, passing through the SCTEX and the Tarlac Dingalan Road. From Clark to Poro Point in La Union, Ilocos Sur will pass through the SCTEX and TPLEX. Going to the Port of Manila will now be a breeze via NLEX and the North Harbor Link. Extending the NLEX, North Harbor Link, NLEX-SLEX Connector Road and on to the Port of Batangas. Another major infrastructure project that would enhance Clark as a major logistics hub would be the completion of the North-South Commuter Railway which will connect Clark to Calamba, Laguna. This would be followed by the completion of the Clark-Subic Railways. All these projects would facilitate the movements of goods and services to major parts of the country. Second, favorable government regulations and trade policies can help attract businesses and investment to a location that facilitate the movement of goods across borders.

Likewise, a location that has a business-friendly environment, including easy access to financing, low taxes and streamlined regulations, can be attractive to companies looking to establish or expand their operations. Third is access to global chains. Clark International Airport provides this access and further improvements and expansion to its operation will further increase the potential of Clark as logistics center in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Availability of skilled labor, access to education and skills development, and availability of cheap are ranked next. A location with a skilled and educated workforce can be a key factor in attracting businesses and investment, as well as supporting the growth of the logistics and transportation industry. Clark is surrounded by local government units that are not only highly populated but are also centers of education in the region.

The Metro Clark Area, which consist of the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat and the municipality of Porac in Pampanga; the municipalities of Bamban and Capas in Tarlac already provide millions of potential employees who are trained and educated. Privately-owned colleges and universities exist side by side with State colleges and universities that provide specific education and trainings that are responsive to the needs of the industries inside Clark.

Lastly, Clark has a reliable internet connection that is almost a t par with industry requirements. In conclusion, Clark is well on its way of realizing its vision of becoming the major gateway of the Philippines in the logistics industry.