THE country’s cargo throughput dropped 7.64% in the first two months of the year, much lower than anticipated, according to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
PPA earlier said it expected a double-digit decline in throughput for January and February due to the global financial crisis that have resulted in high inventory overhangs.
According to PPA, the lower-than-expected fall may be an indication that the effects of the crisis on the country are not that strong or that the crisis may be bottoming out.
Latest PPA data showed cargo volume at 19.67 million metric tons (mmt) for the first two months of the year compared with the 21.30 mmt posted in the same period in 2008 (see table on page 1).
Significant drops in volume were recorded in Limay (down 27.65%), South Harbor (-28.71%), the Manila International Container Terminal (-13.61%).
Only six PPA-controlled ports posted cargo volume growth for the period in review — Nasipit, Batangas, Calapan, Pulupandan, Tagbilaran and Davao. PPA controls 114 ports nationwide.
Domestic cargoes contracted 3.13% for the first two months of the year to 10.45 mmt from 10.79 mmt last year. A bigger drop of 12.27% was observed in foreign cargoes, from 10.51 mmt to 9.22 mmt.
Import and export cargoes fell 3.71% and 29.21%, respectively. Import cargo registered 6.72 mmt for the period from 6.98 mmt last year while export cargo reached 2.49 mmt compared with 3.53 mmt last year.
Nine PPA-controlled ports experienced growth in both export and import volume — North Harbor, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Ormoc, Pulupandan, Tagbilaran, Nasipit, Davao and Zamboanga.
Seven PPA ports saw an uptrend in export volume: North Harbor, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Tagbilaran, Surigao, Davao and Zamboanga.
Containerized cargo decreased almost 7% for the first two months of the year to 565,800 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 605,666 TEUs for the same period last year.
Foreign container cargo traffic of 323,763 TEUs was also lower by almost 12% compared with the previous year.
Domestic container traffic, on the other hand, rose 1.76% from 237,841 TEUs to this year’s 242,037 TEUs.
Vessel traffic for the period was recorded at 46,027 lower by 2,838 or 5.81% from the previous year. Foreign shipcalls increased 1.33% to 1,519 calls but this hardly made up for the 2,858 or 6.03% decline in domestic vessel calls.
|Cargo Traffic for Jan-Feb 2009|
|Container (in TEUs)||565, 800||605,666||(39,866)||(6.58)|
|Source: Philippine Ports Authority|