DESPITE the slump in global cargo volume, Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) posted a slight increase of goods handled for the nine-month period ending in September.

Dante Clarito, MCT port department manager, said the terminal that geared to become an alternative port in the southern part of the country may still achieve its original target of about a 5 percent to 10-percent volume increase from last year.

Latest data showed that MCT, operated by International Container Terminal Services Inc.,(ICTSI)., handled a cargo volume of 84,290 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for the nine-month period, slightly higher than the previous year’s 83,930 TEUs.

“Despite posting an almost flat growth in cargo volume as of September 30, MCT is on target of hitting its goal of handling at least 5 percent to 10 percent higher than the volume it handled last year,” Clarito said.

“The increase in cargo volume is attributable to the robust local import and export industries, led by dairy products for Nestlé in the import sector and wood-based products for the export sector,” he added.

The facility is looking to get volume from members of the Mindanao Federation of Shippers Association.

MCT, located in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, and which is being geared to become one of the gateways in the southern part of the country, is designed to accommodate an annual throughput of 270,000 TEUs. It has a container yard with a capacity of 6,817 TEUs.

The port has a 300-meter berth space, a controlling depth of 13 meters, and can handle two container vessels at the same time. MCT 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 2008 ICTSI bested the bids of Asian Terminals Inc. and Harbour Centre Port Terminals, both of which operate their flagship facility in the Port of Manila, for the 25-year concession of MCT.

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

The Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corp. (Phividec) 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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