THE Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) on Wednesday said it will be spending more than P5 billion this year, lower than last year’s around P6 billion, for the continuous upgrade of its major port gateways.

The “planned investment for the year will support ongoing ports and logistics infrastructure projects across key sites in Manila, Batangas and Laguna as well as the acquisition of more modern and eco-friendly equipment in step with [the company’s] growth strategy and in line with its investment commitment with the port authority,” ATI said in an e-mailed statement.

“Part of this investment program is the continuing expansion of yard and berth facilities in Manila South Harbor to handle growing container volumes and bigger ships deployed by freight carriers,” it added.

The company is hoping to increase the international trade gateway’s annual throughput capacity to nearly 2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) by 2024 from 1.4 million TEUs currently.

It said the first phase of the Batangas Passenger Terminal expansion will be operational by the second quarter of the year.

ATI’s 2021 income attributable to equity holders of the parent company declined 24.1% to P2.24 billion from P2.95 billion in 2020.

This is “due to volume-driven expenses, rising fuel prices, sustained coronavirus resiliency measures, and unfavorable foreign exchange rate impact,” it noted.

The company’s revenues for 2021 stood at P11.16 billion, up by 1.8% from P10.96 billion in 2020 “on account of higher container volumes.”

At the same time, ATI said it handled 1.3 million TEUs last year, 3.7% higher than 2020, with containers in Manila South Harbor and Batangas Container Terminal growing 3.9% and 3.8%, respectively. — Arjay L. Balinbin