Effect of port congestion minimal as cargo volume up 5% in 2014

FEBRUARY 27, 2015, MANILA—Philippine cargo volume went up 5% in 2014 despite the so-called Manila port congestion.

Latest data from Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that volume rose about 5% to 211.20 million metric tons (MMT) for the entire 2014 period from 201.91 MMT posted in the same period last year.

Foreign cargo throughput posted an increase at 7.45% to 133.29 MMT from 124.05 MMT in 2013 wherein import volume soared by 11.29% hike to 67.56 MMT while export volume inched up by 3.77% to 65.73 MMT from 63.34 MMT in 2013. The increase is attributable to the large exportation of river sand, magnetite sand, crude minerals, nickel ore, limestone ore, clinker and slag and coconut oil and copra, fruits and fish as well as the sizeable importation of fuel, coal, grains and fertilizers.

Domestic cargo volume is almost flat after only posting a 0.06% increase to 77.91 MMT from 77.86 MMT a year earlier.

Container volume, meanwhile, increased by 3.95% to 5.43 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 5.23 million TEUs for the same period in 2013. All aspects of containerized operations went up modestly for 2014 despite the Manila port congestion and the slowdown in some areas of operations like Davao.
Foreign container traffic went up 3.42% to 3.29 million TEUs from 3.18 million TEUs in 2013 wherein import boxes rose by 4.52% to 1.69 million TEUs from 1.61 million TEUs a year ago while export boxes also increased by 2.27% to 1.59 million TEUs from 1.56 million TEUs in 2013.

Domestic boxes also posted a significant increase of 4.78% to 2.14 million TEUs from 2.05 million TEUs in 2013.

“Coordinated efforts from various government agencies and the private sector cushioned the adverse effect of the truck ban imposed in Manila starting February 2014,” PPA General Manager Juan C. Sta. Ana said.

“Despite the ban, the volume of containers in the Manila ports, composed of the Manila South Harbor and the Manila International Container Terminal, still managed to post a modest increase,” Sta. Ana added.

Passenger traffic for 2014 reached 55.87 million, a favorable improvement of 4.39% over the previous year’s 53.52 million passenger volume. Despite the impact of competition posed by airlines offering budget fares, the sea travelling public has apparently responded positively to the government’s domestic tourism programs encouraging leisure interisland Ro-Ro travel to heavily promoted tourism sites such as Batangas, Boracay, Coron and other tourist destinations.

Shipcalls, on the other hand, improved by 1.89% to 361,431 vessels during the period in review from 354,715 vessels in 2013. Domestic shipcalls also increased by 2.35% to 352,278 from 344,141 in 2013. However, foreign shipcalls declined 13.44% for the period in review to only 9,153 ships from 10,574 in 2013