Cebu ports handled 44.120 million metric tons (mt) of cargoes in the first nine months of 2019, up 34.4% from the 32.819 million mt recorded in the same period last year, data from the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) showed.
Of the total, domestic cargoes accounted for 76% or 33.329 million mt, which is 30.5% higher than the 25.538 million mt handled from January to September 2018.
Foreign cargoes, which contributed 24% to the total, likewise improved, growing 48.2% to 10.792 million mt from 7.281 million mt last year. Of the total foreign volume handled in the first three quarters of 2019, imports had an 86% share while exports accounted for the remaining 14%.
In terms of containers, volume also recorded an improvement, rising 8% to 756,356 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the first nine months of 2019 from 699,848 TEUs in the same period in 2018.
Domestic containers contributed 56% to the total with 421,583.75 TEUs, down 0.3% from the 422,710 TEUs posted last year.
Foreign containers, on the other hand, increased 20.8% to 334,772.25 TEUs from 277,138 TEUs.
Passenger traffic also posted growth with 3.4% expansion to 17.274 million passengers in the first three quarters of 2019 from 16.707 million passengers in the same period last year. Moreover, Cebu port this year accommodated 321 foreign cruise ship passengers in the first quarter ]first three quarters?[ of this year.
Early this month, Cebu International Port’s (CIP) annual capacity has increased to 900,000 TEUs with the inauguration of its new P1-billion finger pier.
The new finger pier, a project of CIP cargo-handling operator Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR) in cooperation with CPA, allows the terminal to handle more cargo traffic and helps decongest the Cebu hub.
Aside from expanding the capacity of the main port, the Department of Transportation last year started inviting bidders to provide consultancy services for the New Cebu International Container Port project.
A new international terminal is seen as the long-term solution to the growing volumes handled at CIP, the current base port. The new terminal is seen not only to free up the base port but also to enhance the transport infrastructure system to allow for the unimpeded flow of goods and services in the Visayas. Several feasibility studies, the most recent one by the Export-Import Bank of Korea, suggest locating the new sea hub in Tayud, Consolacion, some 8 kilometers from the Cebu base port.