Cargo traffic falls 14%

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    Container traffic fell 14%. (Photo by Rhoy Cobilla)

    Philippine cargo volume in 2020 dropped by 13.7 percent due to the slowdown in local and foreign trade amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Latest data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed the country’s cargo traffic stood at 229.8 million metric tons (MMT) in January to December 2020 compared with 266.4 MMT in 2019.

    The data also showed that foreign cargo throughput handled last year went down by 10 percent to 150.5 MMT from 166.9 MMT in the previous year. Domestic cargo throughput declined by 24 percent to 79.3 MMT from 104.4 MMT in 2019.

    Container traffic fell by 14 percent to 6.76 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2020 from 7.87 million TEUs the prior year, as both local and domestic container traffic declined by 16 percent and 15 percent, respectively, during the period.

    Meanwhile, passenger volume was severely affected by the pandemic as it tumbled by 70 percent to 24.9 million in 2020, from 83.7 million passengers carried in the previous year, due to the community quarantine in place in key provinces.

    PPA said passenger traffic has improved since the lockdown imposed last March, from 1.7 million passengers in the first quarter to 3 million in the third quarter and 3.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.

    Shipcalls fell by 36 percent to 321,560 vessels in 2020 from 503,098 vessels in the previous year, based on PPA data.

    In a related development, the PPA recently awarded the contract for the rehabilitation and expansion of the existing passenger terminal building of Port of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro.

    PPA said it issued the notice of award to the joint venture of D.L Cervantes Construction Corp. and Orient Star Construction Inc. for the P353 million contract.

    “Pursuant to the provisions to the bid documents, the company is hereby instructed to formally enter into contract with us (PPA) and to post the required performance security
    in the form and the amount stipulated in the instruction to bidders within 10 days from
    receipt of this notice of award,” PPA said.