16 FEBRUARY 2023, MANILA —The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has assured the public that there is no congestion nor backlog in all its covered ports as the year starts.

Comparing it to last year, as of January 2023, Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) has recorded 80.75% yard utilization rate or a 9.1% increase from January last year and Manila South Harbor with 67.80%, or a 0.3% decrease from last year respectively.

The latest as of February 14, 2023, MICT has recorded a 54.65% yard utilization rate, and South Harbor with 58.12%, much lower compared to that of December last year with 78% and 68% respectively. Yard utilization is naturally dropping back to the optimal rate which is 50% or below now that the holiday season is over.

Despite these figures, container traffic remains high inside ports. As of January 31, 2023 there are still about 7,765 containers/ 12480.75 TEUs long overstaying in MICT compared to 12,919 containers or 20,990 TEUs last December 2022.

According to Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Santiago, yard utilization rate is improving compared to that of December holiday rush last year.

"As much as possible po, we try to accommodate them in PPA terminals, but we cannot accommodate them all, we can only accommodate empty containers x numbers of days before ship out dahil kung hindi po, mapupuno naman yung terminal natin ng puro empty container more than laden container or yung mga may laman po, yung papasok pa lamang”, Santiago said.

The yard utilization rate is dependent on the cargo shippers and consignees withdrawal of their containers from the port. It can be recalled that December last year, yard utilization rate reached 85% in both international terminals.

Meanwhile, PPA believes that the outlook for 2023 is good, with more projects coming up soon and with the consistent appeal to pull out the overstaying cargoes to make the needed space in the ports.

“We’re still optimistic, we are looking at a 7-8% growth this year as far as cargo traffic is concerned. As you know, we are a consumption economy so even if a lot of other jurisdictions experience some form of recession, our country continues on consuming and as our population grows, consumption will eventually get higher and higher”, Santiago concluded.