DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES — Davao International Container Terminal (DICT) said it expects double-digit growth in its 2015 container throughput, with volumes for the first 10 months already up 24.8%.
From January to October, the port’s box traffic has reached 215,117 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared to 172,412 TEUs year-on-year. This growth trend is expected to be sustained until yearend with volumes for the fourth quarter traditionally high due to the seasonal banana production peak, said Bonifacio Licayan, assistant general manager of San Vicente and Terminal Brokerage Services, Inc. (SVTBSI), DICT operator, in an email to PortCalls.
Bananas and other agricultural commodities account for the bulk of DICT’s export shipments.
For 2015 the port, located in Panabo, Davao Del Norte, is expected to handle 260,000 to 270,000 TEUs, 14% to 18% higher than the 228,212 TEUs recorded in 2014. The forecast volume is around 78% of the port’s annual current capacity of 345,000 TEUs.
DICT is a joint venture between the Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (Anflocor) and Dole-Stanfilco, the leading producers and exporters of fresh Cavendish bananas in the Philippines. Port operator SVTBSI is a unit of Anflocor.
In an interview with media on November 6, Anflocor president and chief executive officer Alexander Valoria said construction of DICT’s Berth 2 was about 53% complete and that the berth will be operational by July 2016.
The company is spending P1.8 billion for the expansion project that will double DICT’s capacity to 600,000 TEUs next year. The expansion began just over a year after the port started commercial operations in May 2013.
Valoria said they see volume hitting the 600,000-TEU mark two years after the start of commercial operations of Berth 2, the boost mainly supplied by agricultural shipments such as bananas and pineapples, as well as raw materials.
In the coming year, DICT is eyeing more port equipment. So far it has two quay cranes, three rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, three reach stackers, five empty container handlers, 21 yard goats/prime movers, and 52 bomb carts/chassis trailers.
Aside from the two quay cranes that will arrive in February next year, DICT will be equipped with five more RTG cranes, two reach stackers, four empty container handlers, 16 yard goats/prime movers, and 16 bomb carts/chassis trailers.
The port also plans to increase its 1,080 reefer plugs to 1,620 next year to support the growing volume of reefers handled.
SVTBSI is likewise developing a five-hectare off-dock empty container depot in addition to the existing three hectares, set to be used in the pre-trip inspection and maintenance of empty boxes.
Five shipping lines regularly make weekly calls at DICT—APL, Pacific International Lines, the consortium of Advance Container Lines and Regional Container Lines, Wan Hai Lines, and CMA CGM.
In future, even more volumes are expected at DICT with Anflocor having recently secured approval from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to develop a 53-hectare industrial economic zone, just a mere 300 meters from DICT.
Valoria is positive of the terminal’s prospects because “when you put up a facility like this (DICT) it becomes a catalyst” for direct and indirect customers.
He stressed “A port is always a catalyst for growth”, adding that containerization has been particularly helpful to small banana growers in the region.
To better service small shippers, DICT has provided consolidation areas near the port where banana growers can pack their shipments in containers.
Valoria, also president of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, however, took note of the need for further rehabilitation of the banana industry after plantations were devastated by Typhoon Pablo in 2012. He said the industry has not been able to replicate the record volume seen in 2010 following the 2012 typhoon, and that it might have a hard time doing so in the near future due to the El Niño. – Text and photos by Roumina Pablo