• PPA revisits 2017 cargo growth targets

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    The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is revisiting its cargo volume forecast for 2017 after posting favorable and encouraging cargo volume in the first five months of the year.

    The PPA said the positive performance in almost all of its ports suggest that the anticipated negative effects of several conditions at the start of the year did not materialize.

    According to PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago, the strong performance of the import industry as well as the resilience of the domestic market somehow shielded the agency from the effects of the deteriorating foreign exchange rate as well as the reduced mining industry operations.

    “I directed all Port Management Offices nationwide to revisit their targets for 2017 based on the strong performance of the agency for the period in review,” Santiago explained.

    “The continued robust port operations is mainly attributed to the sustained robust economic activity in our ports amplified by strong domestic consumption and generally positive business atmosphere,” he added.

    “The efficient movement of cargoes coming in and out of the port area since the implementation of the Terminal Appointment Booking System [TABS] and other decongestion measures are key factors in the progressive operations at our Manila ports,” Santiago added.

    Latest cargo data showed that total cargo volume as of end May grew by 9.36 percent or 103.556 million metric tons compared to 94.692 MMT handled in the same period last year.

    Domestic cargoes went up by 9.27 percent or 3.583 MMT, with 42.251 MMT registered this period against last year’s 38.669 MMT. The growth is indicated by the rise in quantity of trade transactions that flowed in and out of the ports and driven by the high dependence on water-borne transport for the shipment of commodities within the country. Foreign cargo throughput likewise posted a 9.43-percent increase from 56.023 MMT in 2016 to 61.304 MMT this year.

    Container traffic notably progressed to 2.911 million twenty-foot equivalent units this year, which is 13.71-percent higher than the 2.560 million TEUs handled in the same period in 2016. Foreign container volume contributed most in the recorded improvement of 12.73 percent (195,056 TEUs) while domestic containers recorded 15.17 percent (156,056 TEUs).

    Passenger traffic meanwhile, sustained its upward performance albeit minimal with 2.60 percent (832,311) as of end of May. The enhanced passenger volume was steered by the amplified volume of travelers during the observance of the Holy Week in addition to the continuous reliance of the sea-traveling public on Ro-Ro vessels, fast crafts and motorized bancas as primary mode of transportation for domestic interisland connectivity.

    Ship calls vaguely fell by 0.58 percent (1,064) with domestic vessels recording most of the posted decrease. The reduced vessel traffic arose from successive cancellation of trips, mostly of motorizedbancas and fast crafts due to impact of strong southwest monsoon; strong undercurrent water condition; gale warnings by the Philippine Coast Guard; and, routine maintenance of passenger vessels which limited the number of trips.

    As for productivity, Manila ports’ performance indicates no sign of congestion problems, with combined yard utilization of 57 percent berth occupancy rate and quay crane productivity of 26 moves an hour per crane.

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