INTERNATIONAL Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) said yard utilization rate at its flagship Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) has decreased to 70% at the start of the month from 90% in January.
In a statement on Monday, the port operator said government efforts to move out overstaying containers by ensuring faster movement at the yard helped in easing congestion that has been blamed, among others, for slower improvement of factory activity in recent months.
“Roughly a month after the PPA issued an ultimatum for overstaying containers, yard utilization at the Manila International Container Terminal rapidly decreased by about 20 percent[age points] from 90% in January this year to 70% at the start of April,” it said, referring to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
“The healthy yard utilization happened despite higher volume handled, especially in March where MICT handled a record monthly volume. The terminal was able to accept almost double the number of empty containers it was receiving, freeing up trucks in the process which, in turn, resulted in more import pull outs. Shipping lines have now been able to bridge the gap in achieving their weekly empty container evacuation targets.”
The company also noted its import dwell time — or the period a container stays in the port — went down to 6.6 days in April from 11 days in January.
On March 15, the PPA, together with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Bureau of Customs agreed with private port operators to improve efficiency at the latters’ facilities. Containers were given a 30-day limit to stay in terminals after which they are to be transferred to these operators’ inland container yards.
The statement quoted ICTSI Global Corporate Head Christian R. Gonzalez as saying that with the government “taking a hard stand in fast-tracking the disposal and reduction of overstaying and empty containers at Manila ports… [t]he results have been immediate and… show what determination and focus of purpose can do.”
“We are optimistic that most have understood the need for containers to move regularly and in a timely fashion, but the proof will come after Easter which historically has seen overstaying boxes surge.”
ICTSI, whose 4.94% stock price surge to P129.60 helped fuel the Philippine Stock Exchange index’s 0.53% climb on Monday, grew attributable net income by 22% annually to $221.5 million in 2018 on strong operating income from its terminals. — Denise A. Valdez