Cargo traffic soars 34.4% in 9 months

CEBU’S cargo traffic rose 34.4 percent in the first nine months of 2019 to 44.120 million metric tons (MT) from 32.819 million MT recorded last year.

Based on data from the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), domestic cargoes accounted for 76 percent or 33.329 million MT. This is 30.5 percent more than the 25.538 million MT last year.

Foreign cargoes, which contributed 24 percent to the total, also increased 48.2 percent to 10.792 million MT from 7.281 million MT last year. Of the total foreign volume handled during the period, imports had 86 percent share while exports accounted for the remaining 14 percent.

In terms of containers, the Visayan trading hub also saw a robust volume of 756,356 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the period, rising eight percent, from 699,848 TEUs in the same period in 2018.

Domestic containers accounted for 56 percent of the total with 421,583.75 TEUs, down 0.3 percent from the 422,710 TEUs posted last year.

Foreign containers increased 20.8 percent to 334,772.25 TEUs from 277,138 TEUs.

Passenger traffic

Passenger traffic in Cebu ports also grew 3.4 percent to 17.274 million passengers from January to September from 16.707 million passengers in the same period last year.

Recently, the annual capacity of the Cebu International Port (CIP), the city’s main port, 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 CPA awaits the construction of a new international terminal in Consolacion, Cebu, which is expected to address the growing volume at the main port.

Efren Carreon, regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas, told SunStar Cebu Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, the project is now at the environmental study stage.

“The environmental study is now ongoing as per the Department of Transportation,” he said.

“As far as I know, (the construction will be) next year, but I don’t know the exact month,” he said.

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 in the Visayas.

The Cebu port project has a total estimated project cost of P10.1 billion (approximately US$199.25 million).

It will be built on a 25-hectare reclaimed land in the town of Consolacion.

Carreon noted that the new international terminal is seen as a long-term solution to the growing traffic handled at the CIP.

The new sea hub will rise in Tayud, Consolacion, some eight kilometers from the Cebu base port. (CSL)