CARGO volume at the country’s ports increased by 6.34 percent in the first four months from a year earlier, driven by strong foreign container cargo throughput and a healthier domestic cargo volume.
The latest data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that total volume from January to April reached 66.60 million metric tons (MMT), up 6.34 percent from 62.63 MMT posted in the same period of 2014.
Domestic cargo registered a 6.87-percent hike to 27.75 MMT from 25.97 MMT in the January to April 2014 period.
Juan Sta. Ana, PPA general manager, said the North Harbor was the top performer in terms of cargo volume with a share of 8.19 MMT of the total cargo volume nationwide, followed by Batangas with 7.79 MMT, Bataan/Aurora with 6.15 MMT and Davao, 4.14 MMT.
Private ports handled 41.21 MMT or 57.38 percent of the total cargo volume nationwide while government ports accounted for 25.39 MMT or 42.62 percent, Sta. Ana added.
Foreign cargo volume inched up 6 percent to 38.85 MMT from 36.66 MMT a year ago. Import volume rose 7.7 percent to 22.21 MMT from 20.63 MMT in 2014, while export volume increased 3.75 percent to 16.63 MMT compared to the 16.03 MMT posted in 2014.
PPA said that a substantial increase was observed in the ports of Cotabato, Surigao and Agusan posting growth of 436.26 percent, 75.63 percent and 55.15 percent, respectively, due to the increase in the volume of domestic cargo.
Containerized cargoes, meanwhile, jumped 9.45 percent for the January-April 2015 period from 1.73 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2014 to 1.90 million TEUs.
Foreign containerized volume climbed 10.6 percent from 1.03 million TEUs to 1.14 million TEUs for the period in review.
Import boxes registered a 5.56-percent hike to 554,849 TEUs from 525,626 TEUs, while export boxes posted rose 15.78 percent from 510,798 TEUs in 2014 to 591,410 TEUs for the period. Domestic boxes, on the other hand, also grew 7.76 percent for the period in review to 757,065 TEUs from 702,531 TEUs last year.
The North Harbor continues to rank first in terms of volume of domestic containerized cargo handled during the period with 353,128 TEUs.
The Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), on the other hand, continues to handle the largest volume of foreign containerized cargo with 650,629 TEUs, followed by South Harbor with 280,736 TEUs and Batangas with 49,055 TEUs.
Diversion of traffic
The Sasa Wharf in Davao, which used to rank third after North Harbor, posted 32,295 TEUs only as of end-April due to the existing condition of the port while private commercial ports in the area showed an increase in TEU volume, indicating diversion of container traffic from government-run ports to private ports.
Passenger volume for the period reached 19.67 million, or 6.84 percent higher compared to the volume registered for the same period last year.
Ship calls, however, went down by 1 percent to 115,880 from 117,052 in 2014. Both domestic and foreign ship calls decreased by 0.68 percent and 12.26 percent, respectively. The PPA noted, however, that foreign vessels may be lesser in number but larger in size and in carrying capacity.