THE number of ship calls for the first quarter this year went down slightly compared to the same period in 2009, records from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) in Northern Mindanao disclosed.

Neda noted 0.40 percent decrease in the number of ship dockings in major seaports in Northern Mindanao.

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In Cagayan de Oro City, seaports here registered an uptrend in the number of ship calls by 13.36 percent, while Ozamiz City, known with the highest number of dockings in the previous years, posted a decreasing figure by 0.12 percent or from 3,255 ship calls in the first quarter of 2009 to 3,250 of the same period this year.

The port of Iligan also declined in the number of ship calls by 21.97 percent, from 223 ship calls in 2009 to 174 this year, following the suspension in the operation of Sulpicio and Superferry vessels.

In the region, foreign ship calls also decreased by 3.13 percent, from 32 ship calls in 2009 to 31 this year. According to Neda, this was outweighed by the 0.43 percent increase in the number of domestic dockings.

For cargo traffic, a significant 17.61 percent increase was posted during the first quarter of 2010, from 998,628 metric tons (MT) in 2009 to 1.2 million MT this year. Both the domestic and international cargoes recorded increases by 17.26 percent and 19.37 percent, respectively.

All the major ports in the region registered increases in cargoes handled during the period: Cagayan de Oro with 19.07 percent; Iligan Port with 34.30 percent; and Ozamiz Port by 2.63 percent.

Although the number of ship calls posted a minimal increase, the number of passengers recorded a 19.29 percent improvement- from 853,987 passengers in the first quarter of 2009 to 1.02 million during the same period this year.

The Port of Ozamiz posted the highest increase by 25.07 percent in the number of passenger traffic over the same period last year followed by Cagayan de Oro with 9.16 percent while Iligan registered a slight decrease of 0.30 percent.