Home » Breaking News, Maritime, Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » Q1 cargo volume at PH ports up but at a slower pace

Container throughput for the first quarter was up 4.08% over the same period last year. Photo courtesy of Manila South Harbor operator Asian Terminals Inc.

Cargo volume handled by Philippine ports sustained its growth in the first quarter of 2017 but at a slower pace due to a significant drop in export volume.

Latest data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that cargo volume for the first quarter of the year totaled 54.298 million metric tons (mmt), 4.15% higher than the 52.133 mmt handled in the same period last year. This compares with last year’s 8% first-quarter growth.

Domestic cargo volume accounted for 23.825 mmt of the total in the first three months of the year or 4.91% more than the 22.710 mmt registered in the same period in 2016. Foreign cargo volume rose 3.57% from 29.422 mmt to 30.473 mmt.

In a statement, PPA general manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago attributed improved volumes to “healthy economic performance” but said the slower pace of growth is due to the 7.6% decline in export cargo volume for the first quarter, from 9.78 mmt to 9.04 mmt in the same period last year.

Developments in the mining industry also affected the sector’s shipments in several ports, the PPA said.

Regina Lopez, who was appointed Environment Secretary by President Rodrigo Duterte, had earlier in the year issued a controversial order closing down or suspending several mining operations in functional watersheds. Lopez’s appointment was recently bypassed by the Commission on Appointments for the third time. She has since been replaced by Roy Cimatu.

Container volume

Container volume reached 1.521 million twenty-foot equivalent units in the first quarter, up 4.08% from 1.461 million TEUs in the same period last year.

Of the total, domestic containers accounted for 638,435 TEUs, a 7.71% improvement over the comparable period.

Foreign boxes registered a 1.61% growth, partly restrained by a volume drop in export boxes of 4.6% to 408,018 TEUs from 427,562 TEUs.

Among the ports with container volume gains were the National Capital Region North, Davao, Batangas, South Harbor, and Manila International Container Terminal.

Passenger traffic maintained its uptrend with a 0.89% rise to 15.893 million against the 2016 figure of 15.753 million.

Vessel calls during the period fell by 1.59% to 103,499 calls from 105,174 calls last year. The drop was caused by successive trip cancellations ordered by the Philippine Coast Guard due to inclement weather, as well as the routine maintenance of passenger vessels.

Productivity, particularly at Manila ports which handled some 85% of the total cargo volume to and from the Philippines, remained healthy. During the period in review, combined yard utilization hit 55%, with a berth occupancy rate of 61% and quay crane productivity of 25 moves an hour per crane. – Roumina Pablo

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