CHINA remains the top import source market of Cebu, accounting for most of the foreign cargoes that arrived in the province in January 2020.
During the month, imports from China reached a total of 16,992.50 tons, the highest among foreign shipments.
Cebu was mostly buying chemicals, fresh fruits, wooden products, used engines, malts, furniture, papers and plywoods from China, Cebu Port Authority data obtained by SunStar Cebu showed.
The United States and Japan were the next biggest sources of imports to Cebu in January, with shipments totaling 5,145 tons each.
Imports from Japan were chemicals, fabrics, accessories, papers, used engines, wires and wooden products.
The goods Cebu was buying from the US were furniture, fresh fruits, machines and chemicals, among others.
In 2019, Chinese imports dominated the cargoes arriving at the Port of Cebu, with shipments totaling 260,268.92 tons.
Last year, most of the products Cebu bought from China were construction materials, fresh fruits, assorted foodstuff, fabrics, accessories, frozen meats, steel products, plywoods, feeds, wooden products, malts and trucks.
Conrado Abarintos, collection chief at the Bureau of Customs in Cebu, earlier said China accounts for more than 50 percent of customs duties the government collects from imports to Cebu.
He was hoping the novel coronavirus outbreak that was first reported in China in December 2019 won’t impact trade activity with the world’s second biggest economy.
The Philippine government earlier said its ports remain open to all ships, even those from China, in order not to disrupt the cargo supply chain, but the crew of vessels arriving from the novel coronavirus-hit nation will be barred from disembarking.
All foreigners traveling from China and its two special administrative regions—Hong Kong and Macau—are currently barred from entering the Philippines amid a fast-spreading Covid-19 outbreak that has already killed over a thousand people in China.
Despite precautionary measures being implemented, Philippine ports are conducting business as usual.
Aside from imports, the Cebu International Port also serves as a feeder port that sends exports from Cebu to its trading partners globally.
“The feeder vessels tranship these goods from the main export hubs such as Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong where they are moved from the feeder vessels to larger container ships which are bound for the US, Europe, China and other destinations,” said Fred Escalona, executive director at the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) in Cebu.
According to Escalona, products that exit Cebu are mostly tiles, construction materials, steel coils, furniture, electronics, foodstuff, fresh fruits and fresh garlic.
Cebu’s main transshipment points for China are Hong Kong and Shanghai, he said.
“These goods are then delivered to various destinations in China by different transportation modes,” the Philexport official said.