The port and maritime industry is experiencing a recovery

Aerial photo of Manila South Harbor FILE PHOTO

The port and shipping industry expects freight volume growth as manufacturing activity increases and major economies have experienced strong rebounds.

International shipping lines are experiencing a slow but stable recovery in the last few months of the year as the demand for shipping increases and freight rates are high.

According to the World Bank, the global economy is expected to grow 5.6% this year, the strongest post-recession pace in 80 years. The recovery is patchy and largely reflects strong rebounds in some major economies. Moody’s Analytics forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the Philippines at 4% in 2021.

Patrick Ronas, president of the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), said international shipping lines are still reeling from the effects of port closures that have taken place around the world.

“On the shipping outlook for the rest of the year, we’re reaching the last quarter, and the demand for shipping, whether it’s pandemic or not during that time, has always been high,” he said. -he declares.

Congestion still occurs in some of the major ports around the world and it will take some time to clear up. “This has prevented the ships from meeting their regular schedules. When ships do not arrive in time to pick up the containers, it will have a domino effect as manufacturers’ products are held in store for a longer period of time. “

In addition, such delays in overseas vessels delay the return of empty containers to transport exports. Currently the containers are in the wrong parts of the world and have not returned.

As for Philippine volumes, he said, the volumes compared to last year are high and there is only a small difference from the pre-pandemic level.

“Freight rates have increased dramatically and it’s a product of supply and demand and it should last another year. Usually carriers will add a service or move to a bigger ship, but there is no has more container ships in the market. All the tonnage is now afloat, “he said.

Any projection on the volume of goods imported into the Philippines depends heavily on how quickly the spread of Covid-19 can be contained. “Assuming the spread of Covid-19 has been effectively stopped with the help of the vaccine, we are seeing a slow but steady recovery in freight volume in 2021, as production centers begin to ramp up manufacturing activities.” Ronas said.

Increase in freight volume

In the first half of the year, the volume of cargo handled by the country’s ports increased 18.7% year-on-year, according to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has seen its volume increase, mainly due to improved business operations as economies continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. ICTSI processed a consolidated volume of 5,459,523 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) during the first six months of 2021, which is 14% more than the 4,799,765 TEUs processed during the same period in 2020.

Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) saw signs of a sustained commercial recovery and good results in the first half of the year. The South Port of Manila and the Batangas Container Terminal handled more than 660,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of international containers, representing a consolidated volume growth of 17% compared to the first half of 2020.

ATI executive vice president William Khoury said they intend to keep the momentum going into the second half of the year. “We will continuously work in a safe and efficient manner in conjunction with our customers, dockworkers, port authorities and other stakeholders, following strict health and safety protocols,” said Khoury.

Positive outlook

2GO, the Philippines’ largest provider of end-to-end logistics solutions, experienced a gradual decline and recovery in sales and revenue volumes as quarantine measures were slowly relaxed.

In the first half of the year, shipping revenue, consisting of ocean freight and passenger travel revenue, decreased 13% year-on-year. This drop is explained by a 69% drop in passenger travel revenue due to continued quarantine travel restrictions. These were offset by a 16% increase in freight revenues.

Logistics and other services revenue grew 7% year-on-year driven by growth in 2GO’s specialty refrigerated containers and ISO tank containers and international courier business.

2GO primarily operates freight and passenger vessels. The logistics group offers transportation, warehousing and distribution services, cold chain solutions, national and international sea and air shipping services, customs brokerage, project logistics and express delivery. and the last mile of parcels and e-commerce.

Shipbuilding remains resilient

Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu) continues its shipbuilding activities and on September 10 delivered the 309th vessel, the Lotus Blossom. The 225.69-meter vessel has a gross tonnage of 43,643.

Located in the commune of Balamban, the shipyard is equipped with two shipbuilding stations and a construction quay to mainly build bulk carriers of 180,000 tonnes. It can build up to 30 ships per year.

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