Cargo volume handled by Philippine ports dropped 19% to 106.184 million metric tons (mt) in the first half of 2020 from 130.275 million mt in the same period in 2019 as all types of cargoes recorded double-digit declines, data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed.
Of the total volume, 41.5% were domestic cargoes while 58.5% were foreign cargoes handled in ports under PPA jurisdiction.
Domestic cargoes posted a 15.7% decrease to 44.048 million mt in the first six months of the year from 52.221 million mt year-on-year.
Foreign cargoes contracted 20.4% to 62.136 million mt from 78.054 million mt. Imports went down 19.3% to 40.845 million mt from 50.604 million mt while exports fell 22.4% to 21.291 million mt from 27.45 million mt.
Luzon ports accounted for 57% of the total cargo volume, followed by Mindanao ports with a 28% share and the Visayas with 15%.
Cargo volume at Luzon ports for the first half of the year dropped 20% to 60.25 million mt from 75.345 million mt in the same semester in 2019. Visayas ports also posted a 20% decline in volume to 16.395 million mt from 20.608 million mt. Cargo traffic at Mindanao ports went down 14% to 29.54 million mt from 34.322 million mt.
PPA earlier said it expected a slowdown in ship calls and a decline in cargo volume amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Global and domestic trade were significantly impacted by restrictions and economic slowdowns due to the ongoing pandemic. Ports in the Philippines, however, remained operational even during lockdown periods and movement of cargoes was mostly unhampered.
Container traffic in PPA ports for the first semester of 2020 sank 22.9% to 2.974 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 3.858 million TEUs in the same semester last year.
Domestic container volume reached 1.242 million TEUs, 20.7% lower than the 1.565 million TEUs handled last year. Foreign containers decreased 24.5% to 1.732 million TEUs from 2.293 million TEUs.
Ship calls were down 30.5% to 172,312 vessels from 247,849 vessels in the first half of last year. Domestic ship calls were 30.7% less at 167,901 vessels from 242,286 vessels, while foreign ship calls declined 20.7% to 4,411 vessels from 5,563 vessels.
Passenger traffic in the first six months of the year contracted 60% to 18.301 million passengers from 45.607 million passengers in the same period last year.
Disembarking passengers likewise declined 60% to 9.212 million passengers from 23.083 million passengers, while embarking passengers also dropped 60% to 9.058 million passengers from 22.376 million passengers.
Cruise passengers recorded the biggest decrease with 79% to 31,344 passengers from 148,345 passengers last year.
Coastwise travel has been restricted since mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and only locally stranded individuals were allowed to travel by sea.
Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) traffic registered at 2.502 million in the first half of 2020, 36.6% down from 3.949 million in the same period in 2019. Inbound Ro-Ro traffic shrank 36.5% to 1.253 million from 1.973 million while outbound Ro-Ro traffic dropped 36.8% to 1.249 million from 1.977 million. – Roumina Pablo