By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Bad weather and road repair works are causing congestion at the Manila ports, while Subic and Batangas international ports are also getting more cargo volumes, according to industry players.
Christian Gonzalez, senior vice-president and head of the Asia-Pacific region of the International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI), operator of the Manila International Container Terminal, said the bad weather has caused difficulties of some ships from unloading their cargoes at the Manila port.
“There is a lot of bunching of vessels coming from Shanghai in particular, but this is what happens in this kind of weather,” said Gonzales.
Gonzalez noted that Hong Kong and Kaohsiung ports were also expected to close last weekend because of the typhoon.
He also noted that cargo volume has not really gone up that much. In fact, he said there was not much difference in the volume in the second quarter than the volume in April and May.
The seasonal higher cargo volume at the onset of the Christmas holiday starting in September has not yet been happening, he said.
“It is not even the ‘BER’ months yet,” he said adding that “perhaps in terms of value of cargoes it has gone up because the peso has depreciated against the dollar but in terms of actual cargo, not much.”
For the first six months of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that trade-in-goods deficit went up by 27.9 percent to $23.3 billion as imports of goods increased by 10.7 percent while exports of goods declined by 1.6 percent.
Imports of goods amounted to $48.7 billion in the first six months of 2018 from $44 billion in the same period in 2017. The 10.7 percent growth was attributed mainly to higher imports of raw materials and intermediate goods, reflecting the robust expansion in domestic economic activity, said the BSP.
There has not been congestion too in the North Harbor and Subic Bay Freeport, where ICTSI operates the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp.
Meantime, Michael Reauber, president of the country’s leading logistics firm Royal Cargo, said that congestion is starting in the Manila ports due to the ongoing expansion and repair works at the onset of the peak season.
Batangas is also getting tighter, although Subic is still good, he said.