Cebu international port sees 2.5% more containers in 2022

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Cebu international port sees 2.5% more containers in 2022
Atty Tomas Riveral, chairman and chief executive officer of Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp, making a presentation at the Visayas leg of the recent PortCalls Visayas and Mindanao Shipping Conference 2023. PortCalls photo.
  • Cebu International Port sees 2.5% more containers in 2022 from 2021
  • The 425,084 twenty-foot equivalent units handled in 2022 are, however, still below pre-pandemic levels
  • Atty Tomas Riveral, chairman and CEO of Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp, cargo handler of CIP, said they expect volumes to increase this year but sees the “big leap” to be next year
  • OPASCOR is building a 3,500-TEU capacity container yard in a 2.7-hectare property in Consolacion
  • The cargo handler also plans to build a 50,000-TEU capacity port in Compostela

Cebu International Port (CIP) saw 2.5% more containers in 2022 to 425,084 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) from 2021’s 414,906 TEUs.

The latest figure is, however, still below pre-pandemic levels, according to Atty. Tomas Riveral, chairman and chief executive officer of CIP cargo handler Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. (OPASCOR).

At the sidelines of the Visayas leg of the recent PortCalls Visayas and Mindanao Shipping Conference 2023, Riveral said OPASCOR forecasts container volumes to increase further this year but that the “big leap” they are expecting could materialize in the first quarter of next year.

He noted that volumes handled in the first two months of the year “are not very promising” and that China, the country’s top import source, still has intermittent lockdowns.

Of the total container throughput at CIP, 49% or 207,761 TEUs were import containers, 13% or 54,952 TEUs export, and the remaining 162,371 TEUs empty containers.

In 2022, imports and empty containers increased 2.5% from 202,617 TEUs and 8.6% from 149,530 TEUs, respectively, year-on-year.

Exports, on the other hand, declined 12% from 62,759 TEUs.

CIP’s container traffic declined from 440,642 TEUs in 2019 to 416,507 TEUs in 2020 due to lockdowns from COVID-19, further dropping to 414,906 TEUs in 2021 with exporters suffering much due to the pandemic, Riveral said.

Still, OPASCOR is continuously expanding its capacity to handle more cargoes.

Riveral said OPASCOR acquired a 2.7-hectare property in Consolacion in northern Cebu that will become a container yard with a capacity of 3,500 TEUs. He said this is an expansion of their existing 3.2-hectare yard in the area.

Riveral noted the expansion in Consolacion is also due to the prospective ban of container yards in Cebu City, where CIP and the Cebu domestic port are situated.

The new container yard will be completed in December 2023.

New port in Compostela

Aside from the container yard, OPASCOR plans to build a new port in the municipality of Compostela, where he said road traffic is not heavy like that in Cebu City and Liloan. The new port is expected to help decongest Cebu port and will reduce the cost of doing business for those in northern Cebu.

Riveral said they are still finalizing the new port’s design but have “already intimated to CPA (Cebu Port Authority) that we are planning to build a port.”

Construction could start by mid-year and the project completed by middle of 2024. Construction will be fast as the project does not involve reclamation works.

The port will have a draft of 14 meters and will be able to handle one container vessel and one bulk carrier.

For the first phase, annual capacity is eyed at 50,000 TEUs and 500,000 metric tons of breakbulk cargo.

Riveral said OPASCOR’s planned Compostela port will not compete, but will be a backup port for, the New Cebu International Container Port that will be built by government in Tayug, Consolacion. – Roumina Pablo

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