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Brace for China outbreak backlash



Traders need to recalibrate their operations to adjust to the anticipated delay in delivery of cargo amid the partial closure of several ports due to Covid-19 surge in China.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Wednesday said early preparations will reduce the negative impact of the delays in their overall daily operations, which would also allow them flexibility in the long run.

“We need to prepare. Eventually, the delays in cargo shipments will catch up with us due to the congestion being experienced in these transshipment ports,” PPA general manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said.

“We are encouraging all importers and exporters to take the necessary steps to adjust and secure their operations to mitigate the impact of the slowdowns or partial closures of the big ports in their overall operations,” he added.

In the past two weeks, several transshipment ports under the territories of China have slowed down operations due to Covid-19.

Shut for a week
On Tuesday, Ningbo Port, the world’s third-largest container port, shut down one of its terminals for the seventh straight day to ward off threats of a more contagious Delta variant.

Despite the threat of port congestion, PPA assured shippers that Philippine ports can handle the bulk of the delayed shipments when condition at the transshipment ports normalizes.

Major port gateways, meanwhile, are currently operating under optimum conditions and way below the threshold level of utilization set at 75 percent.

The Manila ports, composed of the Manila International Container Terminal and the Manila South Harbor, are operating under normal conditions; they handle 85 percent of the country’s foreign trade volume.

The two ports have an average utilization rate of 68 percent and 56 percent, and berth utilization rate of 59 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Both ports have an average per crane productivity rate of 25 moves an hour.