THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said net profit grew by about a third during the first half, driven by higher revenue from an increase in shipping and trade volume during the period.

In its half-year report sent to reporters Monday, the port regulator said net profit hit P5.818 billion in the six months to June, jumping 31.34% from a year earlier.

Total revenue was P8.996 billion, up 12.08% year-on-year due to the increase in volume of shipments and dollar denominated tariff rates.

Cargo volume increased 3.74% to 128.667 million metric tons (MT) at the end of June, featuring an 8.91% increase in foreign cargo to 78.946 million MT, which helped offset the 3.54% decline in domestic cargo to 49.721 million MT.

Container volume measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) rose 5.74% to 3.840 million TEUs during the six-month period. Domestic containers accounted for 1.554 million TEUs, an increase of 5.08%, while foreign containers accounted for 2.286 million TEUs, up 6.20%.

The number of passengers rose 4.79% in the first half to 44.778 million, largely due to a surge of passengers during the dry season. The PPA said the growth of sea travel as a reliable mode of transportation also drove up volumes.

Ship calls at PPA-operated ports rose 4.06% to 246.586 million in the six-month period.

PPA said results also improved due to an 11.63% decline in costs to P3.179 billion, driven by lower expenses associated with personnel services, land improvement and depreciation and amortization of intangible assets.

The agency has a budget of P5.816 billion for domestically-funded projects this year, of which P645.85 million had been utilized in the first six months to complete 17 projects and kickstart 57 more. There are also 17 projects under procurement, 31 for approval and nine that have been suspended.

Another P700 million was allotted for dredging projects this year, of which PPA utilized P115.20 million in the first half; and P2 billion for repair and maintenance works, of which P547.88 million was disbursed. — Denise A. Valdez