THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said cargo volume rose 2% year-on-year in the seven months to July, with impetus for volume growth expected to come in the remainder of the year.
In a statement on Monday, the PPA said cargo volume during the period was 147.271 million metric tons (MMT).
It added that foreign cargo throughput grew 1.64% to 87.639 MMT, while domestic cargo volume rose 2.48% to 59.631 MMT.
“Notwithstanding the decrease in the volume of export cargo by 0.98%, we were still able to post a positive deviation in overall cargo traffic… We are still on target to hit our forecast of a modest cargo volume hike for 2018 in the high single digits or low double digits,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago was quoted as saying.
“The silver lining in this situation is that our ports, particularly the Manila Ports, remain (congestion)-free and ready to accept the influx of ‘holiday’ cargoes, which we expect to arrive in the next couple of weeks,” he added.
The PPA said yard utilization at the Manila International Container Terminal, Manila South Harbor and Manila North Port was at 67%, while the berth occupancy rate was 59% during the first seven months.
While volume growth was slow, PPA said this category was outperformed by container traffic and passenger volume.
Container traffic rose 9% to 4.309 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) on the back of improving domestic trade.
“Domestic boxes handled at the ports were up 10.37% at 1.755 million TEUs while foreign boxes rose 8.07% to 2.553 million TEUs,” it said.
Passenger volume rose 6.63% to 47.592 million passengers in the seven months to July, with interisland travel still depended upon by much of the public to move around the archipelago, particularly in ports located in Bohol, Mindoro, Negros Oriental/Siquijor, Bredco/Bacolod and Surigao.
A 216% increase in cruise tourism was also a factor in the growth of passenger volume, the PPA said, with passenger traffic at 229,388 in the seven months to July, led by the ports of Surigao, South Harbor, Panay/Guimaras, Zamboanga and Batangas. — Denise A. Valdez