The Philippine Ports Authority’s (PPA) net income in the first quarter of 2020 declined 25% to P2.538 billion from P3.337 billion in the same period in 2019 as most of the agency’s revenue sources registered negative performances for the period.
For March 2020 alone, net income plunged 79% to P300.93 million from P1.401 billion in the same period of last year, PPA said in a statement.
PPA said that even for its regulatory income from port concessionaires, only fees from port operator Manila North Harbour Port, Inc. registered a positive deviation of 3.75% while fees coming from International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and Asian Terminals Inc. went down by 8% and 15%, respectively.
PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago explained that the low net income registered in March and the first quarter of the year was primarily because of the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, including the lockdown last January of China, the country’s main source of imports, and the enhanced community quarantine that has been imposed in Luzon starting March 17.
“As early as January, there has been a slowdown in the movement of cargo as China, being the location of several transshipment hubs and a number of large manufacturing firms, has imposed necessary restrictions to control the spread of the dreaded disease,” Santiago said.
“Other countries including the Philippines followed suit, thus, justifying the negative effect of the same in almost all areas of our revenue sources,” Santiago noted.
“Hopefully, with the relaxation of some restrictions on trade, we will be able to arrest the downward trend in the next couple of months particularly when the country is already able to lift its restrictions on some trade and commercial processes,” he added.
Total revenues for the first three months likewise decreased 17% to P3.753 billion from P4.509 billion in the same period last year. For March, revenues fell 59% to P726.64 million from P1.773 billion.
From PPA’s revenue sources for the quarter, the hardest hit were fees coming from its vessel lay-up operations, which went down by 71% followed by storage that decreased by 57.42%, and arrastre and stevedoring, which were down by 41%.
For March, hardest hit include lay-up fees, storage fees, and share from the Terminal Appointment Booking System.
Total expenses for the first quarter of 2020, on the other hand, went up 7.32% to P1.215 billion from P1.132 billion in the same period last year, with the bulk of expenses going to personnel services, where expenditures increased by almost 11%. For March, expenses went up 14% to P425.71 million from P372.72 million.
Late last March, PPA remitted at least P5 billion in dividends to the national coffers to help in the country’s fight against COVID-19. The amount remitted is by far the highest dividend registered in the 45 years of the agency’s existence.
PPA, as a government-owned and controlled corporation, is mandated to remit at least 50% of its net income to the national government annually.
“This is such a trying moment for all of us as we continue with our battle against COVID-19. If we are united and everyone will be strictly following orders and measures, I believe we will be able to beat this disease and be back to our normal ways again in no time,” Santiago said.
“Hopefully, when this is all over, we should not take for granted the lessons we learned from this pandemic but instead we should use these lessons to make ourselves better and stronger as we continue to sail to a better tomorrow,” Santiago added.