SUBIC BAY FREEPORT―The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority has recorded nearly P1.2 billion in seaport revenue last year, surpassing its 2016 record by three percent, thanks to a 12-percent increase in the port’s containerized cargo volume.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that figures from the SBMA Seaport Department indicated a total income of P1,173,720,042 in January to December 2017 last year, compared to the P1.137 billion revenue collection in 2016.
“The continuing effort of the Seaport Department to upgrade its process flow minimized transaction time and attracted more and more importers and exporters to use the Port of Subic,” Eisma noted.
The volume of containerized cargo grew to 139,980 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2017 from just 124,707 TEUs in 2016.
This increase in containerized cargo offset a six-percent decrease in the volume of non-containerized cargo in 2017, which fell to only 6,646,322 metric tons as against 7,071,444 metric tons in 2016.
The SBMA Seaport Department processed 66,172 TEUs of imported containerized products in 2017, nine percent higher than the 60,593 TEUs processed in 2016.
Meanwhile, the department processed 25,007 TEUs of exported containerized products last year, six percent higher than the 23,527 TEUs in 2016.
The increase in import-export volume that passed through the Port of Subic led to a significant increase of containerized cargoes transshipped in the Freeport: 1,462 TEUs in January to December 2017 against 368 TEUs in 2016, or an increase of 297 percent.
Jerome Martinez, head of the SBMA Seaport Department, said much of the increase in revenue was due to the growth in imported products like vehicle parts by Foton Motor Phils. Inc.; paper materials by Trust International Paper Corp.; and rubber by Yokohama Tire Phils. Inc., which were all sourced from Japan.
The growth in export revenue was attributed to increased export of tires by Yokohama Tires Phils. to Japan; Juken Sangyo Phils. for veneer lumber also to Japan; and HLD Clark Steel Pipe Co. for steel pipes to the United States.
Another factor in seaport revenue growth was the implementation of Republic Act 10668, also known as the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, which allowed arriving or departing ships to carry a foreign cargo to its Philippine port of final destination, after being cleared at its port of entry or exit, Martinez added.
“This law tends to decrease, in some instances, vessel activities going to the Port of Subic, particularly in the importation and exportation of goods,” he said. “However, transshipment activities increase.”
The devaluation of the peso against the US dollar and the unstable global price of crude oil in the world market, which caused a decline of the importation of petroleum products, also buoyed Subic seaport income, said Martinez.
Eisma also expressed optimism for the Port of Subic this 2018, pointing out that one of the world’s largest cruise ships will be arriving here in June for a 12-hour tour of the Subic Bay area.
This was confirmed after Dr. Zinan Liu and other officials of Royal Caribbean International (RCI) spent a two-day assessment of the Subic Bay area last December to include Subic in the itinerary of RCI’s Asian cruise program, she added.
Subic reportedly checked out as a cruise ship destination after Liu noted that it has attractions for people interested in culture, history and religion, aside from the theme parks, beach resorts, hotels and other modern amenities found in the area.
Eisma estimated that should each cruise ship passenger spend US$100 during their stay in Subic, local businesses would gain millions in income during the visit.