Cargo volume up 2% in Jan-July as Manila ports utilization remains healthy

MANILA, 05 September 2018—Philippine cargo volume registered a modest hike in the first seven months of the year despite the sluggish performances from almost all aspects of local and foreign trade.

Latest data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that Philippine cargo traffic totaled 147.271 million metric tons (MMT) in the January to July 2018 period or a 2% hike compared to the 144.412 MMT handled in the same period last year.

The data also showed that foreign cargo throughput handled is at 87.639 MMT or some 1.64% higher than the figure posted a year earlier wherein import volume handled is at 53.654 MMT and export traffic at 33.985 MMT. Domestic volume, meanwhile, reached 59.631 MMT or 2.48% higher than the volume processed in the same period in 2017.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said cargo volume is a bit slow for the period in review but remains upbeat that volume will pick-up towards the latter part of the year.

“Notwithstanding the decrease in the volume of export cargo by 0.98%, we were still able to post positive deviation in the overall cargo traffic,” Santiago stressed.

“Nonetheless, we are still on target of hitting our forecast of a modest cargo volume hike for 2018 of high single-digit to low double-digit growth,” Santiago said.

Container traffic, on the other hand, increased by 9% to 4.309 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 3.953 million TEUs last year due to the recorded uptick in the domestic trade. Domestic boxes handled at the ports posted 10.37% to 1.755 million TEUs while foreign boxes registered an increase of 8.07% to 2.553 million TEUs as against the 2.363 million TEUs handled in the same period last year wherein import volume contributed 1.290 million TEUs while export boxes chipped in 1.263 million TEUs or an increase of 7.44% and 8.71%, respectively.

Passenger volume continues to expand as of July as it increased by 6.63% to 47.592 million passengers versus the 44.631 million passengers that passed through Ph ports in 2017.

“The favorable passenger traffic was driven primarily by continued reliance by the sea-traveling public on Ro-Ro vessels, fastcraft, and motorized bancas as primary mode of transportation for domestic interisland travel. The increase was registered at the ports of Bohol, Mindoro, Negros Oriental/Siquijor, Bredco/Bacolod and Surigao.

In addition, the government’s efforts toward cruise tourism likewise generated positive results as cruise passenger traffic recorded during the period totaled 229,388 or an increase of 216%. The increases were recorded at the ports of Surigao, South Harbor, Panay/Guimaras, Zamboanga and Batangas.

Shipcalls during the period also improved by 5.05% to 273,827 vessels from 260,669 vessels due to increase in domestic shipcalls by 5.33%.

Meanwhile, yard utilization at the country’s major gateway, the Manila ports—composed of the Manila International Container Terminal, the Manila South Harbor and the Manila North Port, remain healthy at a combined utilization rate of 67%. Combined berth occupancy rate is likewise healthy at an average of 59% while Quay crane productivity is at 24 moves an hour per crane.

“The silver lining in this situation is that our ports, particularly the Manila Ports, remain clog-free and ready to accept the influx of ‘holiday’ cargoes, which we expect to arrive in the next couple of weeks,” Santiago added.