Home » 3PL/4PL » On near-term prospects, PLSA is cautious but optimistic

DOMESTIC cargo volumes may be nearing their 2008 pre-crisis levels but local shipping lines remain cautiously optimistic, noting slumping freight rates and the onset of the traditional lean months for shipping may still dampen prospects.

Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA) data showed cargo volume of its members grew 10-15% in the last four months compared to the same period last year.

The association said it expects the new Aquino administration to help close the pre-crisis volume gap “through more investments” that will ultimately bring more cargo.

In the meantime, PLSA is recommending that local shipping lines hold off their fleet expansion until economic conditions are on more solid ground.

PLSA said increasing the number of vessels plying the local trade will only result in unwanted competition at a time when volumes have not fully recovered.

Aboitiz Transport System recently introduced two vessels—SuperFerry 20 and 21. PLSA member Negros Navigation also placed into service two dedicated cargo vessels this year. Lorenzo Shipping Corp, another PLSA member, is eyeing to replace one of its ageing vessels with a ship that has double its capacity.

Official data

The country’s cargo throughput posted double-digit growth in the first quarter of the year, the first such substantial improvement since the global economic crisis broke out in 2008.

For the period in review, the Philippine Ports Authority said volume grew 22.74% to 39.534 million metric tons (mmt) from 32.210 mmt last year

Domestic cargoes improved 9.56% or 1.61 mmt and foreign cargoes, 37.16% or 5.72 mmt for the period in review.

“The improvement in volume may be attributed to the increase in the shipment of corn, cement, grains, coconut oil, flour, chemicals and other general cargoes and export products such as coal, mineral fuels, limestone and coconut oil,” PPA said in a report.

Containerized volume for the first quarter rose 21.40% to 1.070 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 881,978 million TEUs last year.

Domestic and foreign container traffic jumped 12.83% and 27.48%, respectively.

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