SEA cargo and passenger volumes each posted year-on-year growth of 11 percent in the first seven months of the year, reflecting a robust economy, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said.
Data from the PPA showed that total cargo throughput reached 141.77 million metric tons (MMT) in January to July this year, an 11 percent increase from 128.217 MMT registered in the first seven months of 2015. Foreign cargo volume grew despite indications of slowing global trade, increasing 12 percent to 86.302 MMT, while domestic cargo expanded at a slightly slower 9 percent to 55.47 MMT.
Passenger traffic also increased by 11 percent for the seven-month period to 42.492 million from 38.213 million in January to July 2015. Most of the passenger volume was domestic traffic, which accounted for 42.42 million of the total. The PPA noted the remarkable growth in foreign passenger volume, however, which ballooned by 69 percent over the same period last year to 71,514 passengers.
“The strong performance of the cargo segment underscores the country’s economic resilience,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago commented.
“The strong numbers in the passage sector also suggests the continuing vibrancy of both the local and international travel industries and more people are now considering traveling using ships,” he added.
“Nonetheless, despite the surging numbers, we guarantee that our ports remain congestion-free and can accommodate the increasing cargo, passenger and shipcall volumes,” Santiago also said.
Santiago said that the ports of Agusan, Mindoro, Panay/Guimaras, NCR North, and Negros Oriental/Siquijor posted the biggest growth percentages in local and foreign cargo, while North Harbor remained the top performer in terms of domestic cargo volume.
Containerized cargo traffic, meanwhile, grew 9 percent during the period in review to 3.676 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 3.368 million TEUs in the first seven months of 2015. Foreign container volume grew to 2.203 million TEUs, while domestic boxes increased to 1.473 million TEUs.
Manila International Container Terminal was once again the country’s top handler of foreign boxes processing 1.241 million TEUs for the period in review followed by the Manila South Harbor handling 584,598 TEUs. North Harbor continued to lead in terms of domestic boxes handled with 696,495 TEUs.
Shipcalls also increased 9 percent for the period, from 234,468 in January to July 2015 to 255,037 this year. Domestic and foreign shipcalls grew by 8.45 percent and 21.91 percent, respectively.
The PPA also reported that yard utilization at the two Manila ports remained at a comfortable 40 percent. Currently, there are approximately 32,600 TEUs inside the terminals while yard productivity remains high ranging from 20 to 30 moves an hour, the PPA said. The agency attributed the efficient yard management for both terminals partly to the truck Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS), which the PPA said had improved port efficiency by at least 96 percent, based on the increase in gateouts. Prior to the TABS, there were 4,500 to 5,000 TEUs average daily gateouts at the Manila ports, compared with the post-TABS traffic of 7,000 to 7,500 TEUs daily gateouts.
“With this kind of yard utilization, we can say that Philippine ports are ready to handle the expected increase in the volume of cargo in the run-up to Christmas,” Santiago said.