By Emmie V. Abadilla
Riding on the back of higher international containerized cargo volumes last year in both its Manila and Batangas gateway ports, Asian Terminals’ Inc. (ATI) netted P2.9-billion earnings, 15.8% higher than 2017, on P12.3-billion revenues, up 15.8%.
Overall, the international gateway ports of Manila South Harbor and Batangas Container Terminal handled a combined container throughput of over 1.4 million teus (twenty-foot equivalent units), the highest yet for the listed port operator.
International boxed cargoes handled at Manila South Harbor in 2018 reached over 1.3 million teus, an increase of over 6% from 2017.
The rapidly growing Batangas Container Terminal (BCT) handled nearly 250,000 teus, an increase of over 25% compared to the previous year.
Both Manila South Harbor and Batangas Container Terminal supported the government’s drive for growth within and outside Metro Manila by opening direct market links and delivering competitive port services to shippers based in the national capital region and southern Luzon.
Batangas Port, in particular, contributed to decongesting Metro Manila roads.
Last year’s cargo volume meant taking out over 125,000 truck trips along metro roads, with more Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) shippers preferring to route consignments through BCT.
Earlier, ATI announced that major expansion projects are underway in both Manila and Batangas ports to support future cargo growth.
The company is investing P14.7 billion from 2019 to 2020 to develop more berths and storage spaces in its Manila and Batangas ports, along with additional container yards outside the port zones.
It will also acquire more cargo handling equipment and invest in innovation to make its operation safer and more efficient.
By the second quarter, ATI will complete the expansion of the Batangas Container Terminal, bringing its capacity from 350,000 teus to over 450,000 teus, annually.
To date, the terminal is equipped with four quay cranes, eight rubber-tired gantry cranes and additional mobile container handling equipment.