SHIP traffic and cargo throughput at the Manila North Harbor posted a double-digit decrease for the first quarter of the year, latest data from Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed.
Cargo handled at the terminal was down more than 10% to 3.35 million metric tons (mmt) from last year’s 3.76 mmt. Vessel traffic also slowed to 1,065 ships of varying sizes, or 19% less than the previous 1,315 vessels.
Containerized cargoes, on the other hand, posted an increase of 18% to 159,190 TEUs for the first three months of the year from the previous 135,356 TEUs.
Data showed there were less empty containers handled for the period of 38,977 TEUs from the previous year’s 77,949 TEUs.
Passenger traffic, meanwhile, continued its decline to 294,362 for the three-month period from the previous 300,402 travelers. But for March alone, a slight improvement was recorded when 93,739 used the port from the previous year’s 89,973 people.
Passenger traffic has suffered declines as a result of competition posed by smaller roll-on/roll-off players and budget airlines.
Annually, the North Harbor handles about 17 mmt of cargo and about three quarter of a million standard containers. For the past few years, however, cargo throughput at the terminal has been sliding as a result of old facilities.
PPA is privatizating the terminal. Last month, a concession was struck between officials of the PPA and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which acts as a watchdog of the privatization measure.
Based on the agreement, PPA will privatize one of two cargo handling terminals of the North Harbor and operate the remaining terminal itself to compete with the privatized port.