SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) recorded more than P997 million in sea port income in the first nine months of this year, as containerized cargo trade in this free port continued to grow with the gradual reopening of the global economy.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the SBMA Seaport Department recorded a 15 percent increase in revenues in January to September 2021 compared to the P863.7-million earnings posted in the same period in 2020.
“The increase in container traffic definitely carried the day for Subic because it also helped us realize increases in processing fees, SBMA shares from the operation of the container terminal, as well as leases,” Eisma said.
“The positive figures in these revenue sources had offset decreases in other areas like non-containerized cargo, which has markedly fell since the Covid-19 pandemic,” she added.
Eisma said the SBMA further expects container traffic—and Subic port revenue—to grow this year, as third quarter figures placed container cargo volume at 69,355 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) compared to 62,103 in the second quarter.
“The 12 percent increase in containerized cargo volume corresponded to an 11 percent increase in our port revenue, which grew from P317.2 million in the second quarter to P351.9 million in the third quarter. And so far, this upward trend continues,” she added.
According to a report from the SBMA Operations Group, the biggest income earner for Subic seaport was the agency’s share from container terminal operations, which yielded P302.3 million in January to September this year.
The container terminal operation was buoyed by a 32 percent increase in exports, from 24,951 TEUs in January-September 2020 to 32,891 TEUs this year, and a 16 percent rise in imports that grew from 77,663 TEUs last year to 90,019 TEUs this year.
The next biggest income sources for the SBMA sea port are lease rentals, which brought in P252 million, cargo charges with P248.1 million, and vessel charges with P126.1 million.
SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Ronnie Yambao said the SBMA shares registered a 46 percent growth over the January-September 2020 record because of increased cargo handling fees, hauling and variable fees, even as a slight dip of 0.4 percent was noted in foreign container vessel ship calls in the same period.
Processing fees, cargo charges and lease rentals, meanwhile showed respective increases of 11 percent, 3 percent and 11 percent, Yambao added.
Yambao also pointed out that while total non-containerized cargo volume decreased by 10 percent in the same period, or from 5.39 million metric tons (MTs) in the first three quarters of 2020 to 4.86 million MTs in the same period this year, the liquid bulk petroleum sector defied the downtrend with an 18 percent increase, or from 1.84 million MTs to 2.17 million MTs this year.
Meanwhile, the SBMA Trade Facilitation and Compliance Department (TFCD), which handles import and export transactions in the Subic Bay Freeport, reported that its revenue grew from P83.66 million in the first three quarters of 2020 to P104.22 million in 2021.
TFCD manager Anna Joy Quito attributed the 25 percent increase to the increase in import-export fees and admission fees brought about by the gradual reopening of the economy.
TFCD records showed a 67 percent increase in Subic export transactions, from $630 million in 2020 to $1.05 billion in 2021, and a 52 percent rise in importations, from $815.9 million in 2020 to $1.24 billion in 2021.