PPA sets sight on infra build up
It is also in line with the current thrust of the Duterte administration to realize the golden age of infrastructure and be at par with our international partners. Incidentally, the move is also parallel to one of the major programs of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of building better ports for the future. PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said the focus of the infrastructure projects include full containerization of Philippine ports and the provision of larger backup areas; safe and convenient Passenger Terminal Buildings (PTBs); and upgrade and construction of cruise terminals in key areas nationwide. “The President’s and Sec. Arthur P. Tugade’s marching orders are to heavily invest on port infrastructure in order to provide port services of global standards by 2020,” Santiago said. “Since the start of the year, almost all of our resources have been directed to our port projects. We have already required all our contractors and suppliers to increase their productivity in order to finish the projects, particularly the locally-funded projects (LFPs), on time if not ahead of time,” Santiago stressed. “This year, we have earmarked close to P6 billion to carry out our LFPs, which run to around 109 port projects, wherein, 46 are from Luzon, 23 in the Visayas and 40 projects in Mindanao,” Santiago said. For the Luzon port projects, a total of 9 have already been completed, while 18 are ongoing and 19 projects are under procurement. In the Visayas, 6 have already been completed, 10 are ongoing, while 5 projects are under procurement. Mindanao, meanwhile, registered the biggest number of completed projects with 21, while 49 projects are ongoing. The region also has 35 projects under procurement. Currently, PPA is also carrying out several infrastructure projects in key areas to support the booming cruise industry aimed at developing international hubs for cruise liners like Surigao, Ilocos Norte, Bohol, Boracay, Metro Manila and Palawan. These make up the nation’s major nautical cruise arteries. It has also lined up various port programs for the development of cruise terminals in the above areas. Financial performance As a result of its aggressive infrastructure push, the PPA registered a lower net income in the first five months of the year as its expenses soared, as expected, to finance the said projects. PPA’s total revenues for the first five months of 2018 went up by 13% to P6.84 billion from P6.04 billion a year earlier. Expenses, however, went up 44% to P3.01 billion from P2.08 billion in 2017 primarily due to the huge infra spending particularly on repair and maintenance and land improvements that increased more than 139%, resulting in a net income of P3.83 billion or some 3.24% lower than the P3.96 billion posted in the same period in 2017. Nonetheless, despite the huge financial requirements, the PPA remains very liquid and financially stable with a net worth of P187.57 billion. Operational highlights Philippine cargo throughput for the first 5 months of the year slightly increased by 0.44% due to the high activity in domestic consumption and positive business climate nationwide. Total throughput reached 98.89 million metric tons (mmt) for the period compared to the 2017 figure of 98.46 mmt, wherein domestic cargo volume went up almost 4% to 42.36 mmt. Foreign cargo traffic decreased by 1.85% to 56.524 mmt, wherein imported products inched up by 4% to 37.99 mmt, while export volume declined by 12.12% to 18.52 mmt. In terms of container traffic, volume soared by 8.6% to 3.02 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) as against the 2017 same period volume of 2.78 million TEUs. Domestic boxes registered an increase of 9.4% to 1.23 million TEUs compared to the 1.12 million TEUs handled last year, while foreign boxes registered an increase of 8% to 1.79 million TEUs from 1.65 million TEUs in 2017. Passenger volume continued to expand as of end May as it increased by 9.3% to 36.76 million versus the 33.63 million handled in the same period last year due to the increase in reliance by the sea-traveling public on Ro-Ro vessels, fastcrafts, and motorized bancas for inter-island travel particularly in the ports of Bohol, Masbate, Mindoro, Negros Oriental and Siquijor and Negros Occidental-Bacolod-Banago area. The positive stream in passenger traffic is also due to the favorable response of the public to the government’s domestic eco-tourism programs encouraging inter-island leisure travel through Ro-Ro vessels. The soaring international cruise tourism industry has also positively contributed to the overall performance of the country’s passage industry as it soared by more than 184.76% from a mere 43,820 international cruise passengers last year to 124,779 passengers this year. The concentration of cruise ship passengers is at the ports of Manila, Panay/Guimaras, Batangas and Palawan. There is also no sign of port congestion in any of the major gateway ports of the Philippines particularly the Manila ports as productivity remains stable with a combined average productivity of 23 moves an hour. In terms of yard utilization, the average is at 60%, while berth occupancy rate at the three ports is at 59%. 2017 Accomplishments A. Dividends PPA posted a record high last year in terms of dividends remitted to the national coffers after remitting more than P3 billion, its highest contribution to the National coffers since 1986. The state-owned agency’s dividend for 2017 also eclipsed by at least 30% all the dividends it remitted to the government at least in the last decade, including its erstwhile record of P2.158 billion remitted in 2015. PPA is mandated to remit 50% of its annual net income to the state-owned agency’s dividend for 2017 also eclipsed by at least 30% all the dividends it remitted to the government at least in the last decade, including its erstwhile record of P2.158 billion remitted in 2015. PPA is mandated to remit 50% of its annual net income to the National Government after it was granted fiscal autonomy during the term of President Corazon C. Aquino. In the last couple of years, the PPA is a regular member of the ‘Billionaires Club’ of Government Owned and Controlled Corporations contributing billions of pesos in dividends. With this all-time high dividend by PPA, it is expected to maintain its inclusion in the elite list of GOCCs.