PPA expects 2017 to be flat for cargo, revenues

MARCH 21, 2017, MANILA—The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is overhauling its growth forecast for this year despite registering a banner year in 2016.

The state-owned corporation now anticipates growth to be nominal this year from the previous year’s exponential growth due to vital developments over the past two months.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago explained that the tapered expectation is attributable to the continuing volatility of the Philippine currency as well as the expected drop in the operation of the mining industry in the Philippines.

“Last year was a great year for the agency as we were able to post significant figures in terms of cargo volume and revenues,” Santiago said.

“This year, however, will be different as we anticipate it to be nominal due to several developments particularly in the mining industry, which has been one of our growth areas the past couple of years,” Santiago stressed.

“Based on our review, almost all our business aspects have already reduced targets and budgets for 2017 ranging from the original 20% to only 3%.

“Nonetheless, PPA will remain resilient and committed to carry out its mandate of better connectivity and service amidst these developments,” Santiago added.

Among the hard-hit areas by the issues clouting the Philippine mining industry include the ports under the Port Management Offices of Surigao, Nasipit, Palawan, Batangas, Manila, Northern Luzon, among others. These ports handle the bulk of the shipments from the mining firms like nickel, manganese, smelted copper, and refined copper including pumice, marble, silica sand as well as iron ore, chromium, silver, and Zinc.

In Surigao alone, it broke past a half billion in annual revenues for the first time in more than three decades anchored on the increased volume in the exportation of mineral products at private mining ports, along with longer port stays and increased vessel frequency.

Meanwhile, the revised Corporate Operating Budget (COB) of the PPA this year was reduced to P14.59 billion which is only 2% higher than the 2016 COB wherein the biggest reduction are done in Port Dues, Berthing, Anchorage, Arrastre/Stevedoring, Pilotage, Wharfage for export, Ro-Ro fees as well as non-traditional income sources.

Revised Operating Expenses, on the other hand, ballooned to P16.22 billion this year from only P9.33 billion last year while total capital expenditure increased to P7.42 billion this year compared to the P3.50 billion in 2016 in order to implement several port projects that include the modernization of Mindanao and Visayas ports like Iloilo, Gen. Santos, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga, improvement of all passenger terminal buildings, repair and maintenance projects and the implementation of 14 other capital expenditure projects.

Total Budgetary Outlays for the Authority this year is now pegged at P23.64 billion compared to the total budget source of P23.87 billion.

Last year, the PPA posted a P6.159 billion net profit, beating the target by 165% or P3.836 billion.

PPA was able to achieve the feat with strong figures coming from lay-up fees, Ro-Ro fees, berthing fees and remittances from Asian Terminals, Inc.

Compared to the year-ago level, the 2016 figure is 8% better against the P5.705 billion registered in 2015.

“While we expect this condition to be temporary, the Authority is bracing for a challenging 2017,” Santiago said.