Operations at the Port of Manila have normalized and congestion there has been resolved, Malacañang said on Monday.
“With the combined efforts of the Cabinet Cluster on Port Decongestion, the Technical Working Group of various agencies and the cooperation from the private sector, operations at the Port of Manila have been completely normalized and the congestion has been resolved,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, quoting a statement from Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.
According to Lacierda, the port congestion was resolved in February this year.
“Over the past three weeks, the ships with berthing schedules were accommodated accordingly. For ships that arrived unscheduled, they were able to dock within 24 to 60 hours from arrival . . . By February 2015, the benefits of a fully decongested port [are]in place,” he said.
“From a high of 105 percent utilization rate [at]the height of the truck ban in May 2014, to the present 79 percent-84 percent utilization rates, both the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) show improved efficiency, as ports are maximized to facilitate the flow of trade and cargo,” Lacierda added.
He noted that solving the port congestion was a long process, complicated by various factors such as ship scheduling, loaded and empty container handling and the truck-ban hours.
According to Lacierda, the long Christmas holidays last year, as well as the passage of Typhoon Amang, the Feast of the Black Nazarene and the visit of Pope Francis in January also constricted movement at the port and extended the period of resolution.
“As of the end of February 2015, this is no longer the situation. The enhanced truck ban hours and routes have ensured efficient flow of cargo without causing traffic congestion,” he said.
The Port of Manila became congested because of the truck ban earlier imposed by the Manila city government.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada lifted the truck ban in the city on September 13, 2014.
Meanwhile, Lacierda thanked the Metro Manila Development Authority, local government units, government agencies and stakeholders involved “for their cooperation and support [and]who united to resolve this problem and bring it to this successful close.”