Home » Maritime » Trade imbalance = outbound operations losses for carriers

SOME international shipping lines operating in the Philippines are losing on the outbound trade due to the trade imbalance.

SITC Container Lines commercial manager Arnie De Guzman told PortCalls too little shipments of export-laden containers has affected freight rates, resulting in negative to flat margins for shipping lines on their outbound operations.

The situation has forced an increase in the container imbalance surcharge, now at $75 per 20-footer and $150 per 40-footer from $50 and $100, respectively.

"The ratio of import to export volume is really at the exact opposite right now," De Guzman said. "Based on our computations, the (container) ratio is 5 (inbound) is to 1 (export laden)."

A "more manageable level", he pointed out, is "about 5 is to 3."

International containerships servicing the Philippines — usually with an average capacity of 800 twenty-foot equivalent units – normally carry 100 laden containers and the rest empties, ex Manila.

While exports have increased 25-30% this year, much of the growth was accounted for by airfreight cargoes. Seafreight exports increased less than 5%, De Guzman said.

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