Home » Maritime » RP cargo throughput slowdown seen in 2011

“Next year, foreign cargo is seen to grow by only 2% and domestic cargo by only a little over 1%,” said Emma Susara, manager of the Commercial Services Department of the Philippine Ports Authority. Susara was one of the speakers at last week’s PortCalls Cargo Economics Conference.

THE Philippines expects cargo throughput to continue increasing next year but at a slower pace, according to Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Commercial Services Department manager Emma Susara.

“Next year, foreign cargo is seen to grow by only 2% and domestic cargo by only a little over 1%,” Susara said in her presentation at last week’s PortCalls Cargo Economics Conference. These figures compare to 2010 projections of a 7% rise for foreign cargo and 5% uptick for domestic cargo.

The slower growth is due to continuing weakness in the US and Japan economies, two of the country’s traditional trading partners, Susara said.

Still, hopes are up that 2011 volumes may improve further considering they do not yet factor in the contribution of roll on-roll off traffic, which has been increasing since 2007.

Ro-Ro traffic — particularly involving Type 4 vehicles or stake trucks, heavy delivery trucks, passenger/tourist buses and prime movers — posted double-digit increases in 2008 and 2009 of 19% and 16%, respectively.

Susara also said, “Philippine trade might pull up some more if it was redirected toward our neighboring countries in Asia.”

From 1999 to 2009, the newly industrializing economies of Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan represented 23.69% and 24.84% of the country’s exports and imports, respectively, according to the Central Bank of the Philippines. Compare these to the US’s 21.63% (exports) and 17.97% (imports) share for the same ten-year period.

When the global economic crisis hit in 2008, the Asian economies – including the Philippines — fared better than their Western counterparts, presumably because of learned lessons from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

In the first six months of 2010, the country’s cargo volume increased 12%, thanks to strong performance of the country’s export sector. Volume from January-June 2010 reached 82.216 million metric tons (mmt) compared to 73.362 mmt handled in the same period last year.

Of the total, domestic cargo accounted for 36.286 mmt, slightly higher than the 35.985 mmt posted last year. Foreign cargoes rose almost 23% from 37.376 mmt to 45.930 mmt for the period in review.

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