CEBU’S cargo traffic surged 37.46 percent in 2019 to 60.02 million metric tons (MT), as the Visayan trading hub handled more shipments.
Much of the cargo traffic was recorded at the Cebu International Port (CIP), the busiest in southern Philippines.
Passenger traffic at seaports in Cebu also rose 3.82 percent to 22.80 million, official data obtained by SunStar Cebu from the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) showed.
The CIP and seaports in Mandaue, Danao, Sta. Fe, Toledo and Argao made up the passenger and cargo traffic growth in 2019.
In terms of containers, CPA-managed Cebu ports also saw a robust volume last year to 1.012 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the period, up 6.12 percent from 953,739 TEUs in the same period in 2018.
Efren Carreon, director of the National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas, said the strong port activity indicates Cebu’s expanding consumption-led economy.
“These are positive economic indicators that show brisk commodity inflows not only in Cebu but for the entire region,” he told SunStar Cebu Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.
“These somehow also indicate that consumer demand for goods is on the rise, further implying that people have the capacity to purchase these goods,” he said.
In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone, cargo throughput hit 15.225 million MT, of which 11.798 million MT were domestic cargoes and 3.427 million MT were foreign cargoes.
For foreign shipments, imports during the last quarter reached 2.942 million MT while exports totaled 484,979 million MT.
“On the other hand, these commodity goods coming in also indicate supply gaps in the region which become an economic opportunity for the domestic market to consider producing these goods locally, based on market, technical and financial viability,” Carreon said.
Domestic cargoes at Cebu ports still account for more than 70 percent of the traffic while foreign shipments make up the rest.
Recently, the annual capacity of the CIP rose to 900,000 TEUs with the inauguration of its new P1 billion finger pier.
The new finger pier, a project of CIP cargo-handling operator Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. and CPA, allows the terminal to handle more cargo traffic and helps decongest the Cebu hub.
Such measure was done while the construction of a new international terminal in Consolacion, Cebu has yet to be realized.
The new port is expected to address the growing volume at the CIP in Cebu City.
To recall, the Philippines and South Korea had signed a US$172.64 million loan agreement for the construction of the Consolacion port that aims to free up the existing seaport in the province and provide a more efficient and reliable transport infrastructure for a seamless flow of goods and services.