Home » Ports/Terminals » Better trade to boost ATI volumes

Manila’s South Harbor operator Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) sees better cargo volume for this year due to improving trade in the Philippines.

Newly installed executive vice president Andrew Hoad said import and export container volumes will continue to grow in 2012 due to the relatively strong Philippine economy.

“We cannot really say the actual gap between imports and exports right now but we can say that it is really improving unlike last year,” Hoad said at the sidelines of the ATI stockholders’ meeting last week.

“Imports still dominate the country’s volume but export shipments are on a constant increase,” he added.

“As for growth, I think international containers will still be our main growth area for this year.”

At the end of 2011, imports comprised 70% of total Philippine trade. To date, the figure has gone down to 60%.

“To have a clearer picture as to the exact percentage of trade imbalance, we need to get the exports from the airfreight sector,” ATI president Eusebio Tanco, for his part, said.

“But in terms of seafreight, it (exports) has been improving but not so high but at least there’s an improvement,” Tanco added.

ATI chairman Kun Wah Wong in a separate interview said, “Capacity at the South Harbor right now is sufficient to handle the current container traffic allowed by the Philippine economy.

“We can easily increase capacity of the terminal by 30-40%. But unless there is a sudden and constant increase in cargo volume, any improvement in the South Harbor will only be what  is justified by the current traffic.”

South Harbor’s container capacity is at 950,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) but as of last year, the terminal only had an 88% utilization rate at 836,134 TEUs.

Earlier, Wong said ATI will likely increase its capital expenditures for the year to acquire additional cargo-handling equipment at its South Harbor terminal.

ATI will jack up capex by $16 million to $18 million to purchase two additional quay cranes.

It had initially earmarked P1.4 billion in capex this year to upgrade infrastructure, including improve Pier 3’s crane rail; increase berthing capacity; and purchase one crane.

ATI’s net income dropped to P1.52 billion in 2011 from the previous year’s profit of P2.1 billion.

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