Philippine ports have emerged as strong contenders in Southeast Asia, surpassing their regional counterparts in cargo volumes. The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), led by General Manager Jay Santiago, has played a crucial role in this achievement through relentless efforts to fortify and modernize the ports to meet global demands. Recent data from Drewry Maritime Research highlights the remarkable growth of the Port of Manila, which stands out as the only port in the region to achieve a double-digit increase in volumes. Meanwhile, larger ports in the area reported declines or single-digit growth rates.
In 2022, the Port of Manila handled a total of 5.47 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), marking a significant 10 percent upswing from the previous year. This accomplishment solidified the Port of Manila’s position as the seventh busiest gateway port in Southeast Asia, encompassing container, gateway, transshipment, and domestic cargo. Additionally, the research findings positioned the Port of Manila as the sixth-largest gateway in terms of volumes, with a growth rate of 10.7 percent and a total of 3.96 million TEUs handled in 2022.
Notable progress was also observed in southern ports, with the Port of Cebu ranking 13th after handling 937,052 TEUs in 2022, and the Port of Davao securing the 15th spot with 824,898 TEUs handled during the same period.
On a per terminal basis, the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), the largest international gateway in the Philippines, claimed the third position among the largest gateways in the region. MICT secured the 11th spot among the top 20 terminals, while Manila NorthPort secured the 19th spot.
General Manager Jay Santiago attributes these positive developments to the hard work and transparency in developing robust port infrastructure that aligns with global trade requirements. He emphasizes that these figures not only reflect the development of Philippine ports’ Southeast Asia ranking but also contribute positively to the economy, including transportation, logistics, and manufacturing. The growth in cargo volumes generates employment opportunities and fosters economic development.
Furthermore, a report by Drewry Maritime Research reveals that Philippine ports weathered the post-pandemic challenges in the shipping business and even accelerated their performance in the previous year. The report classifies Philippine ports as among the strongest in Southeast Asia. This recognition comes shortly after Philippine ports improved their ranking in the 2023 World Bank Logistics Performance Index (LPI), moving from 60th to 43rd out of 139 countries. The Drewry report, based on data, confirms that the Port of Manila experienced double-digit growth while larger ports faced declines in volumes.
General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago affirms that these successes stem from commitment, hard work, and transparency in creating port infrastructures that meet global trade standards. The positive performance of Philippine ports, measured by the Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) metric, indicates their significant role in economic globalization. The growth in container volumes contributes to the overall economy, benefiting transportation, logistics, manufacturing, and generating employment opportunities that contribute to economic development.