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PPA says yard utilization rate improving, no port congestion in January 2023

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Thursday reported that the country’s yard utilization rate is improving, adding that no congestion or backlogs were logged in all covered ports last month.

“The PPA has assured the public that there is no congestion nor backlog in all its covered ports as the year starts,” the agency said in a statement.

Based on PPA’s data as of February 14, the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) has recorded a 54.65% yard utilization rate, while Manila South Harbor has a rate of 58.12%, much lower compared to December last year with 78% and 68%, respectively.

“Yard utilization is naturally dropping back to the optimal rate which is 50% or below now that the holiday season is over,” the PPA said.

The agency, however, said that the container traffic remains “high” inside the ports.

The PPA said the number of containers overstaying in MICT went down to 7,765 containers or 12480.75 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) as of January 31 from 12,919 containers or 20,990 TEUs in December 2022.

PPA general Manager Jay Santiago said the yard utilization rate is improving compared to the holiday rush in December last year.

He said that the yard utilization rate is dependent on the cargo shippers and consignees withdrawal of their containers from the port.

“As much as possible po, we try to accommodate them in PPA terminals, but we cannot accommodate them all, we can only accommodate empty containers [for a] number of days before ship out dahil kung hindi po, mapupuno naman yung terminal natin ng puro empty container more than laden container or yung mga may laman po, yung papasok pa lamang,” Santiago said.

Santiago said they are still optimistic with more projects this year and consistent appeal to pull out the overstaying cargoes to make the needed space in the ports.

“We’re still optimistic, we are looking at a 7 to 8% growth this year as far as cargo traffic is concerned,” he said.

“As you know, we are a consumption economy so even if a lot of other jurisdictions experience some form of recession, our country continues on consuming and as our population grows, consumption will eventually get higher and higher,” he added.

In September 2022, the congestion in the Port of Manila's container yards slowed down the unloading of containers from vessels and the transport of cargoes to their destination. —Richa Noriega/KBK, GMA Integrated News