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PPA pledge: No port congestion this Christmas

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 02:29 PM October 21, 2016
Manila port (AP FILE PHOTO)

Manila port (AP FILE PHOTO)

MANILA — The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has assured the public there will be no port congestion despite the expected upsurge in cargo volumes during the “ber” months.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago, in a statement, said the country’s cargo volume climbed another 11 percent in the first seven months of the year compared to the 2015 figures.

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“Despite the surging numbers, we guarantee that our ports remain clogged-free and can accommodate the increasing cargo, passenger and ship call volumes,” Santiago said.

“The strong performance of the cargo segment underscores the country’s economic resilience. The strong numbers in the passage sector also suggests the continuing vibrancy of both the local and international travel industries and more people are now considering traveling using ships,” he added.

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Combined yard utilization at Manila ports is now at 40 percent, with approximately 32,600 TEUs (or twenty-foot equivalent unit, a measure of a cargo’s carrying capacity) inside the terminals while yard productivity ranges from 20-30 moves an hour.

Santiago said the efficient yard management for the Manila terminals was attributed partly to the truck Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS) imposed recently that catapulted port efficiency by at least 96 percent.

Prior to the TABS, the average daily gate-outs at the Manila ports were at 4,500 to 5,000 TEUs as compared to the post-TABS imposition of 7,000 to 7,500 TEUs daily gate-outs.

“With this kind of yard utilization, we can say that Philippine ports are ready to handle the expected increase in the volume of cargo due to the run-up to Christmas,” Santiago said.

Meawhile, Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) said in its latest report that the ports sector in the Asia-Pacific sector would suffer the strongest impact from the headwind of slowing economies in the region.

In the report “Asia-Pacific Sector Outlook 4Q 2016: Net Negative Outlook Bias Rises to 13 percent from 11 percent,” S&P said that across the region, the ports sector would face the strongest headwind with softening gross domestic product (GDP) growth and potential short-term impact from the recent bankruptcy filing of South Korean cargo liner Hanjin Shipping.

S&P said shipping ports would fare the worst because of weak volume growth.

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“Ports dedicated to commodity trades could benefit from the recent rebound of coal prices although this would reduce the downside risk rather than providing true upside,” S&P said.

S&P expects business conditions for other transportation subsectors such as road, airport and rail to remain broadly stable with some potential upside for rail operators exposed to commodity prices.

However, it has warned that for the ports subsector, the situation is more about “reducing downside risks.”

“The current negative rating bias is primarily because of the negative outlook on the China and Australia sovereign ratings, which impacts the ratings on state-owned enterprises,” the report added.

The report noted that in emerging Asia, the main risk “is a material slowdown since investments continue to be high and lumpy, with assets having limited ability to adjust.”

“The second risk is the tightening in credit markets as a result, which would further stretch balance sheets as earnings weaken,” it added.  SFM

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TAGS: cargo volumes, Christmas season, Forecast, Jay Daniel Santiago, Philippine Ports Authority, port congestion, port management, ports, Standard and Poor's Rating Services
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