Ph cargo volume still on the uptrend but on a slower pace for Q1

MANILA, MAY 9, 2017—Philippine cargo volume sustained its growth but on a slower pace for the first quarter of 2017 due to the significant drop in the export volume.

The critical developments clouting the mining industry has also affected the industry’s shipments in several ports nationwide.

Latest data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that cargo volume for the first quarter of the year totaled 54.298 million metric tons (mmt) or about 4.15% higher than the 52.133 mmt handled in the same period last year.

Domestic cargo volume likewise posted positive figures at 23.825 mmt, which is higher by 4.91% than the 22.710 mmt registered in 2017 while foreign cargo volume posted a 3.57% increase from 29.422 mmt in 2016 to 30.473 mmt this year.

“The healthy economic performance explains the sustained robust operations of Philippine ports at large,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said.

“While we posted volume growth for the period, the growth pace, however, is slower. Last year, we registered some 8% growth in volume compared to the 4% for the same period this year,” Santiago added.

“The slower pace is due primarily to the overall decline in export cargo volume, which dropped 8% for the first quarter compared to last year,” Santiago explained. For the period, export volume is only at 9.04 mmt compared to the 9.78 mmt handled in the same period last year.

Container volume, meanwhile, totaled 1.521 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), which is 4.08% higher than the 1.461 million TEUs handled last year wherein domestic boxes posted a 7.71% increase to 638,435 TEUs while foreign boxes registered a measly 1.61% hike wherein growth was pulled by the drop in export boxes of 5% to 408,018 TEUs from 427,562 TEUs. Among the ports that posted growth in TEU-volume, include NCR North, Davao, Batangas, South Harbor and the Manila International Container Terminal.

Passenger traffic, on the other hand, maintained its upward trend with a 0.89% increase to 15.893 million against the 2016 figure of 15.753 million. The nominal growth was due to the change in the period of the Holy Week Celebration while the reliance by the sea-traveling public on Ro-Ro vessels, fastcraft and motorized bancas as primary mode of transportation for domestic interisland connectivity remained as the primary reason in passenger traffic.

Vessel calls during the period in review fell by 1.59% to 103,499 calls from 105,174 calls last year wherein domestic vessels recorded most of the posted decrease. The reduced vessel traffic was a result of successive cancellation of trips due inclement weather by the Philippine Coast Guard and the routine maintenance of passenger vessels that limited the number of trips.

In terms of productivity, particularly the Manila Ports that handled some 85% of the total cargo volume to and from the Philippines remain very healthy with a combined yard utilization of 55% with berth occupancy rate of 61% and quay crane productivity of 25 moves an hour per crane.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways announced that they are doubling their importation due to the different infrastructure developments being carried out in the country. However, the PPA is not expecting that such development will drastically increase volume that will warrant another overhaul of the revised 2017 volume forecast of the agency.