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Despite the generally lower cargo volumes being reported as a result of the global economic slowdown, the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) posted a slight increase in its volume of goods handled for the first half of the year.

MCT, which is now being operated by top port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), handled 53,886 twenty foot equivalent units (TEU) for the first six months of the year from last year’s 52,687 TEUs.

According to an official of the Phividec Industrial Authority, foreign cargoes remain strong despite the slowdown but they are not expecting too much from the operations in light of the global developments. The MCT, a 270,000-TEU capacity container handling facility, is located at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagaloan, Misamis Oriental.

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“We are not expecting a drastic increase in volume but if the trend would continue, we will be very happy as we are performing better than anticipated. While we are very optimistic about our prospects for this year with the present condition, we still do not treat the situation as a signal towards recovery,” the official said.

At the moment, goods from Del Monte Philippines and Nestlé Philippines continue to increase their shipments through MCT.

International carrier Mariana Express also expressed desire to call at MCT tentatively scheduled by next month.

The MCT port has 300-meter berth space, with controlling depth of 13 meters and can handle two container vessels at the same time. The port also has two gantry cranes and four rubber-tired gantries.

Last year, MCT handled 109,438 containers, more than half of which were handled by ICTSI when it took over the operations.

In March last year, ICTSI bested the bids of Asian Terminals Inc. and Harbour Centre Port Terminals, both of which operate a facility in the Port of Manila, for the 25-year concession of Mindanao Container Terminal.

The 24-hectare MCT is about 20 kilometers away from Cagayan de Oro City, where another terminal owned by Philippine Ports Authority is also in operation.

Phividec, or Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corp., was operating the port before ICTSI after two failed biddings during the past years.

Under the contract, ICTSI shall be responsible for planning, supervising and providing full terminal operations for ships, container yards and cargo handling at the port.

ICTSI is paying Phividec a fixed fee of P2.2 billion payable in advance quarterly installments and other variable fees depending on the cargo volume.

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