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Manila South Harbor | Photo courtesy of PPA

Cargo volume handled by Philippine ports dropped 4.5% in the first quarter of 2020 to 56.707 million metric tons (mt) from 59.371 million mt in the same period last year as both domestic and foreign shipments recorded declines, preliminary data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed.

Of the total volume handled in ports under PPA jurisdiction, domestic cargoes accounted for 45% and foreign cargoes, 55%.

Domestic cargoes decreased 3.3% to 25.444 million mt in the first quarter of 2020 from 26.305 million mt in the same period last year. Foreign cargoes likewise dropped 5.5% to 31.263 million mt from 33.066 million mt.

READ: Foreign shipments lift PH cargo traffic by 2% in 2019

Import cargoes were 5.8% lower with 23.247 million mt from 24.685 million mt last year. Export cargoes were also 4.4% less at 8.016 million mt from 8.381 million mt.

Luzon accounted for 63% of the total among the regions, followed by Mindanao with 22% and the Visayas with 15%.

Cargoes handled by Luzon ports in the first quarter of 2020 were down 4.11% to 35.736 million mt from 37.267 million mt.

Mindanao ports serviced 12.741 million mt, 4.43% lower than the 12.200 million mt handled in the previous year.

Visayas ports, on the other hand, recorded the biggest decline of 16.9% to 8.231 million mt from 9.904 million mt.

In terms of container traffic, PPA recorded 1.716 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in the first quarter of this year, a 9.5% decline from 1.897 million TEUs in the same quarter last year.

Domestic boxes decreased 7% to 728,767 TEUs from 783,742.50 TEUs while foreign containers were down 11.3% to 987,476 TEUs from 1.113 million TEUs.

Shipcalls rose 1.4% to 119,278 vessels in January to March 2020 from 117,599 vessels in the same months last year.

Domestic ship calls jumped 1.7% to 116,938 vessels from 115,016 vessels. Foreign ship calls, on the other hand, were 9.4% lower with 2,340 vessels from 2,583 vessels.

Passenger traffic dropped 8.1% in the first quarter of 2020 to 16.675 million from 18.145 million in the same period in the previous year. Disembarked passengers decreased 8.4% to 8.380 million from 9.151 million; embarked passengers dropped 7% to 8.263 million 8.882 million.

Cruise passengers recorded the highest decline of 72% with only 31,344 from 112,246 last year.

Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) traffic, on the other hand, increased 4.8% to 1.820 million from 1.736 million. Inbound Ro-Ro traffic rose 4.9% to 910,978 from 868,809 while outbound Ro-Ro traffic went up 4.8% to 909,031 from 867,032.

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