November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

PPA now sees double-digit 2017 cargo volume growth

THE PHILIPPINE Ports Authority (PPA) is revising upward its cargo volume forecast this year to “double-digit” growth after reviewing the data for the first five months of the year.

In a statement, the port regulator said almost all its ports performed positively in recent months and overcame the anticipated negative effects of the deteriorating foreign exchange rate as well as reduced mining industry operations.

Total cargo volume as of end-May grew by 9.36% or 103.556 million metric tons (MMT).

Given the latest data, the PPA said cargo volume is now expected to grow by around 10%. The regulator early this year set a 20% target for cargo volume but tempered the estimate to 3% in March amid persistent volatility in the peso and reduced volume expected from miners.

“I directed all port management offices nationwide to revisit their targets for 2017 based on the strong performance of the agency for the period in review,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago was quoted as saying.

“The continued robust port operations are mainly attributed to the sustained robust economic activity in our ports amplified by strong domestic consumption and generally positive business atmosphere,” he added.

PPA data showed that domestic cargo in the five months to May rose 9.27% or 3.583 MMT to 42.251 MMT.

Foreign cargo grew 9.43% to 61.304 MMTs during the period.

Container traffic meanwhile amounted to 2.911 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the five months to May, up 13.71%.

Passenger traffic also sustained its upward performance with growth of 2.60% to 832,311 in the five months, driven by the volume of travelers during the observance of the Holy Week in addition to the continuous reliance of the sea-traveling public on Ro-Ro vessels, fast craft and motorized bancas as primary mode of interisland travel.

The PPA will also revise its revenue targets but has yet to release the estimates.

Net profit rose 31.90% in the five months to May to P3.966 billion due to the increases in roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) fees, berthing fees and vessel lay-up fees.

The various Manila ports showed no sign of congestion problems, with combined yard utilization of 57%, berth occupancy of 57% and quay crane productivity of 26 moves an hour per crane.