Port cargo volume up 5% in 2014

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Philippine cargo volume grew 5 percent year-on-year in 2014 despite congestion at the port of Manila, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said Friday.

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“Coordinated efforts from various government agencies and the private sector cushioned the adverse effect of the truck ban imposed in Manila starting February 2014,” PPA General Manager Juan Sta. Ana said.

Latest data from Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that volume rose about 5 percent to 211.20 million metric tons (MMT) for the entire 2014 period from 201.91 MMT posted the previous year.

Increased imports, exports
The PPA data showed foreign cargo throughput posted an overall increase of 7.45 percent to 133.29 MMT from 124.05 MMT in 2013. Import volume soared by 11.29 percent to 67.56 MMT while export volume inched up by 3.77 percent to 65.73 MMT from 63.34 MMT in 2013.

The increase was attributed to the sizeable importation of fuel, coal, grains and fertilizers, as well as exportation of river sand, magnetite sand, crude minerals, nickel ore, limestone ore, clinker, and slag, coconut oil and copra, fruits, and fish.

Domestic cargo volume, on the other hand, was virtually flat after posting just a 0.06-percent increase to 77.91 MMT from 77.86 MMT a year earlier.

Container volume grows
Overall container volume, meanwhile, increased by 3.95 percent to 5.43 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 5.23 million TEUs for the same period in 2013.
All aspects of containerized operations moderately increased in 2014 despite the Manila port congestion and the slowdown in some areas of operations like Davao.

Foreign container traffic went up 3.42 percent to 3.29 million TEUs from 3.18 million TEUs in 2013. Import boxes rose by 4.52 percent to 1.69 million TEUs from 1.61 million TEUs a year ago, while export boxes also increased by 2.2 percent to 1.59 million TEUs from 1.56 million TEUs in 2013.

Domestic boxes also posted a significant increase of 4.78 percent to 2.14 million TEUs from 2.05 million TEUs in 2013.

“Despite the [truck]ban, the volume of containers in the Manila ports, composed of the Manila South Harbor and the Manila International Container Terminal, still managed to post a modest increase,” Sta. Ana said.

Higher passenger volume
Passenger traffic for 2014 reached 55.87 million, a favorable improvement of 4.39 percent over the previous year’s 53.52 million passengers.

PPA said that despite the impact of competition posed by airlines offering budget fares, the sea traveling public has apparently responded positively to the government’s domestic tourism programs encouraging leisure interisland roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) travel to heavily promoted tourism sites such as Batangas, Boracay, Coron and other tourist destinations.

More shipcalls
Shipcalls improved by 1.89 percent to 361,431 total vessels during the period in review from 354,715 vessels in 2013, driven by an increase in domestic ship traffic.

Domestic shipcalls increased by 2.35 percent to 352,278 from 344,141 in 2013. However, foreign shipcalls declined 13.44 percent during the year to only 9,153 ships from 10,574 in 2013.

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