Philippine exports sustained its strong performance in 2016, propelling the country’s cargo volume higher by 12% compared to its year-ago level.
Export cargoes comprise 49% of the total cargo volume handled by the different ports nationwide. It increased by 23% for the entire 2016 period from 60.855 million metric tons (mmt) to 74.822 mmt registered a year earlier.
Import volume, on the other hand, contributed 51% to the total after posting a 4% increase to 76.781 mmt from 73.765 mmt in 2015.
Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) data also showed 2016 Philippine cargo throughput reached 249.567 mmt or some 25.895 mmt higher than the 2015 volume of 223.672 mmt. Foreign cargoes accounted for 151.604 mmt or an increase of 12.62% versus the 134.620 mmt handled in 2015 while domestic cargoes contributed 97.963 mmt from 89.051 mmt or an improvement of 10%.
“These are very encouraging figures particularly the export data, which suggests that the sector is very healthy,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago explained.
“Trade imbalance has been glaring the past couple of years in favor of imports, and in 2016 we saw that both sector is almost on equal footing,” Santiago stressed.
“Nonetheless, the PPA is committed to continue streamlining procedures in favor of the cargo owners in our bid to lure them to bring in and ship out more cargoes, this year,” Santiago said.
Container volume, meanwhile, also posted positive figures rising 12% to 6.574 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 5.861 million TEUs handled in 2015. Foreign containers inch-up 14.11% to 3.973 million TEUs while domestic boxes rose 9.28% to 2.6 million TEUs for the period in review. Total import boxes is at 2.005 million TEUs while Export containers is at 1.968 million TEUs wherein both posted increases of 15.4% and 12.8%, respectively.
Among the ports, which registered strong performance, include the Manila International Container Terminal and Manila South Harbor for international cargoes, North Harbor for domestic cargoes as well as Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Iloilo.
Passenger traffic, on the other hand, increased by 8.51% to 68.101 million owing primarily to increasing number of cruise ship arrivals in the country. Foreign passage volume went up by 8.678% to 33.221 million while domestic passage traffic inches up by 8.34% to 34.879 million. The increase is due to the government’s eco-tourism programs encouraging leisure travel to tourist destinations such as Boracay, Puerto Galera, Coron, El Nido, and other emerging tourism sites.
During the period in review, a total of 430,451 vessels were serviced nationwide which rose 35,356 or 8.95% with both domestic and foreign ship calls posting growth of 8.60% and 22.08%, respectively. The improved vessel traffic was a result of increased number of trips of passenger vessels as well as the increased shipment of prime commodities like rice, cement, molasses, fertilizers and fuel, among others.