Cheap air fares limit Jan-Feb ferry passengers
MANILA, Philippines - Cheaper fares, expanding route networks and faster travel offered by domestic airlines have continued to hammer down the number of passengers availing of sea-based transportation in the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,100 islands, in the first two months of 2013.
Juan Sta. Ana, the general manager of state-run company Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), said in a report that the volume of sea-based travelers grew by just 3.6% to 7.89 million from 7.62 million a year ago. The modest increase in passenger volume was attributed to strong competition from budget airlines.
“The numbers still reflect the impact of competition posed by airlines offering budget fares,” Sta. Ana said. The PPA added that domestic travelers are shifting to air transport due to a "fare war" among budget airlines.
The PPA also reported growth in cargo volume for January-February. The company attributed the increase to the country's strong economy.
Sta. Ana said in a report that cargo volume shipped in and out of the country increased by 7.63% to 27.3 million metric tons compared to the same period last year.
He added that foreign cargo shipped in and out of the country increased by 12.12% to 15.04 million metric tons during the period. Domestic cargo shipped within the country, on the other hand, grew by 2.7% to 12.26 million metric tons from 11.94 million metric tons.
The PPA added that containerized cargo volume rose by 1.91% to 822,029 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 806,662 in TEUs in the same period last year. In February, the company reported that the number of passengers traveling by sea rose by just 0.74% to 49.85 million in 2012. - with reports from Christian B. Bautista/Rappler.com