Home » Ports/Terminals » Subic’s container operations will be slow this year

SUBIC BAY – Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) expects container volume at the freeport to reach only 30,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2010, about a fifth of the target set two years ago.

The freeport said any significant growth in container operations is unlikely considering the turtle-paced recovery of the global economy.

“SBMA and its locators have been hard hit by the crisis and we have yet to recover,” SBMA seaport manager Capt. Perfecto Pascual last week told members of the Maritime Journalists Association of the Philippines.

“Unless our locators and other clients drastically (see) improved business conditions this year, our containerized volume will remain low just like the rest of the world,” he said.

But toward the end of 2010, a “huge jump” in boxed cargo volume is expected, thanks to the P1-billion investment of Philip Morris.

Pascual said such gain is being factored in for 2011 though when the investment goes full blast.

Philip Morris is building a Regional Leaf Warehouse within the freeport. The facility will sort products for local and international distribution.

The cigarette maker will be bringing in about 150,000 TEUs annually with significant increases in volume expected each year.

If all goes according to plan, SBMA will be able to handle 150,000 to 200,000 TEUs a year, a target set when it constructed the New Container Terminal 1. The facility is now operated by Subic Bay International Terminal Corp, a subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

The volume brought in by Philip Morris is on top of the 10% growth expected at Subic after 2010 when the world fully recovers from the global financial crisis.

In 2009, SBMA container cargo volume declined 0.4% to 29,252 TEUs from 29,372 TEUs in 2008. The 2009 figure is, however, higher by 2.3% from the 28,553-TEU target.

The bulk and breakbulk volume grew 18.5% to 2.214 million metric tons (mmt) from 1.868 mmt posted in 2008, and is also higher by 1% compared to last year’s target of 2.194 mmt.

The majority of bulk cargoes in Subic are rice, heavy equipment, corn and livestock.

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