USTDA, Philippines Partner on Maritime Safety

Arlington, VA – Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency announced that it has signed a grant agreement with the Philippines’ Department of Transportation (DOTr) for a feasibility study to assess the viability of developing an expanded vessel traffic management system (VTMS) in the Philippines. New and improved VTMS capabilities will help the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) prevent and respond to vessel collisions, environmental incidents, and other emergencies by expanding the PCG’s capabilities to monitor maritime traffic. The system will also make port access more efficient by reducing ship wait times and voyage costs.

“VTMS technology will improve trade, protect the environment, and save lives in the Philippines,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director. “USTDA is pleased to partner with DOTr to expand opportunities for high-quality U.S. infrastructure solutions to benefit the Philippines’ overall maritime safety.”

Similar to air traffic control, VTMS provides active monitoring and navigational information for maritime vessels, particularly in congested ports and waterways. As a nation comprising more than 7,000 islands, more than 800 commercial ports, and growing vessel traffic activity, the Philippines seeks to expand its VTMS infrastructure to cover major ports and navigational paths. USTDA’s study will evaluate the performance of the PCG’s existing VTMS in the Cebu Strait, assess potential implementation of the system at up to ten additional locations across the country, and create detailed implementation plans.

“VTMS will promote efficient movement of people and goods through the Philippines’ island water corridors,” said Jaime J. Bautista, Philippines Secretary of Transportation. “It will be a key step that will empower the Philippine Coast Guard to level up their maritime security and marine environment protection capabilities. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Embassy as we see the full potential of this system.”

“The USTDA grant will provide the DOTr and PCG with the necessary technical expertise and cutting-edge U.S. solutions to implement the project,” U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said at the ceremonial grant agreement signing held at the DOTr Central Office in Mandaluyong City.  “This project will help protect marine ecosystems while improving maritime trade and commerce—two equally important and mutually reinforcing lines of effort to help improve Philippine lives and livelihoods.”

U.S. businesses interested in submitting proposals for the USTDA-funded feasibility study should visit

This study advances the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy by promoting maritime cooperation with a key U.S. ally in the Indo-Pacific region.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority infrastructure projects in emerging economies. USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in partner countries.