PH cargo volume down in April; PPA wants truck ban lifted

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Containerized cargo volume in April fell 3.12 percent to 418,204 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 431,654 TEUs a year earlier, the latest data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) shows.

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The drop was blamed on a total daytime cargo truck ban imposed by the City of Manila starting early this year.

“We need long-term solutions to lure those shipping lines to return to the Philippines and the lifting of the truck ban for the entire Metro for six months is a very good start,” PPA General Manager Juan Sta. Ana said in a statement.

PPA data showed that total foreign boxes declined by 6.05 percent to 247,547 TEUs in April, from the same month last year.

Import boxes totaled 131,095 TEUs, down by 4.16 percent from the 136,779 TEUs recorded last year. But export boxes registered the biggest fall of 8.10 percent to 116,452 TEUs, compared with the year-ago level of 126,713 TEUs.

“The traffic being experienced right now is caused by the declogging of the ports, brought about by the pile-up of containers after the truck ban. We expect that traffic will slowly ease up especially with the run-up to the Christmas season,” Sta. Ana said.

Meanwhile, passenger volume for April rose by 8.67 percent to 6.228 million from 5.731 million in April 2013. However, domestic and foreign passengers slid by 2.8 percent and 11.71 percent, respectively.

“The PPA continues to exert extra effort in coming up with a win-win and long-term solution to the current condition through further consultation with the local government, other government agencies concerned, and all the port stakeholders including cargo owners and freight forwarders,” Sta. Ana said.

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