THE Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) on Thursday said it expects the Manila South Harbor’s annual capacity to increase to nearly 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 1.5 million TEUs currently as a result of ongoing infrastructure projects.

“Ongoing infrastructure projects are underway in South Harbor. We added new examination areas and continue to develop more container spaces to support our growth,” ATI President Eusebio H. Tanco said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

He noted that the construction of pier 3 has started and that five new yard cranes arrived last year, to be followed by two ship-to-shore container cranes.

“These will enable us to handle more cargoes and bigger vessels, with an annual capacity of nearly 2 million TEUs from the present 1.5 million TEUs,” he said.

The company has 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,” it said in a recent 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.

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. — Arjay L. Balinbin