Port operator bullish despite inflation

By Joann Villanueva

April 20, 2023, 4:19 pm

MANILA – Global port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) is optimistic about its operations this year as economies continue to recover from the pandemic despite challenges brought by higher inflation.

During the company’s virtual stockholders’ meeting Thursday, ICTSI president and chairman Enrique Razon said he expects the elevated inflation both here and abroad to continue.

Razon cited the additional challenge caused by the Ukraine-Russia conflict and its impact on global oil and energy prices.

“However, the company’s business remains strong and we’ll continue to be prudent on our actions and are watching very closely,” he said.

Razon said while they expect these challenges to “continue in the foreseeable future, the company will overcome them eventually.”

For 2022, the company registered a 20-percent increase in consolidated revenues to USD2.24 billion from USD1.87 billion the previous year.

Razon traced the higher revenues to tariff adjustments at some terminals, ancillary services, contributions of Manila North Harbor Port, Inc. (NorthPort), Manila Harbor Center (MHC), Onne Multipurpose Terminal (OMT) in Nigeria, and IRB Logistica in Brazil.

He said consolidated volume inched up by 9 percent to nearly 12.22 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year due to improved trade and consolidation of NorthPort and OMT.

“The increase was a result of improved trade as economies continue to recover on the pandemic restrictions and the consolidation of Manila NorthPort,” he said, citing also the contribution of OMT. “Growth was not spread out evenly as some countries did better than others.”

To date, ICTSI has 33 terminals in 20 countries and six continents.

Razon said the company has been prudent in its capital expenditures, with the figure for 2022 at USD386 million.

He said the funds were used for the expansion of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT) in Congo, and Contecon Manzanillo S.A. de C.V. in Mexico, among others.

“The gross estimated capital expenditure for 2023 is approximately USD400 million,” he said.

The funding will be used for the ongoing expansion in, among others, the MGT, Contecon Manzanillo, and MICT, he added. (PNA)