MICT yard utilization continues to fall

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YARD utilization at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) continued to drop near historically low levels in June, which operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) attributed to the improvement in the speed of turnover of containers.

The Razon-led port operator said in a statement Wednesday it hit a yard utilization rate of below 58% during the current month, falling from 70% in April and from 90% in January.

“Yard utilization at the ICTSI flagship MICT continues to be close to historically low levels as efforts to fast-track the movement of overstaying import containers out of the port of Manila have resulted in a utilization rate dropping below 58% despite a series of holiday periods and low trucking activity,” it said.

The company attributed the improvement to the manifesto signed among port operators and government offices in March, which sought to improve efficiency of operations in container terminals.

“The significant efforts in which both the private sector and the Bureau of Customs to release longer-staying imports at the terminal has resulted in lower overall container dwell times allowing us to efficiently utilize the ample capacity to accelerate volume growth,” ICTSI Global Corporate Head Christian R. Gonzalez said in the statement.

ICTSI noted the low utilization of the yard came even as it handled its highest throughput over a four-month period in history.

“We commend the government for leading the initiative against overstaying containers, and call on stakeholders to embrace these gains by not reverting to the old ways which has been common in previous years when utilization rates drop,” Mr. Gonzalez added.

ICTSI said it will continue its efforts to improve efficiency at the MICT, with an $80-million capacity improvement project under way. Part of this initiative is the construction of berths that would handle larger ships and increase the volume of the port.

Its unit in Central Luzon, Subic Bay International Container Terminal, also added a container depot in March to help in the turnover of empty containers.

The listed firm posted an attributable net income of $72.4 million in the first quarter, 77% up from the same period last year, due to a strong operating income and lower financing charges. — Denise A. Valdez