PPA: Ports ready for the holidays through Chinese New Year

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Philippine ports will remain efficient and productive this holiday season despite the expected rush of passengers and cargoes with only five days to go before the Philippines celebrates Christmas, the Philippine Ports Authority said.

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In a statement, PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said that ports would be ready to handle increased traffic, but urged cargo owners not to relax in the cargo withdrawals and to continue to take advantage of the Truck Appointment and Booking System in order to have a very smooth turnaround time for the country’s foreign cargoes.

“Philippine ports, particularly our international gateways, will be in full commercial operations except for a couple of hours on Christmas and New Year’s Day because ships continue to come and go even during holidays,” Santiago said.

“I am urging all cargo owners and other stakeholders to maintain their current operations in order to have a swift turnaround time for their cargoes and if possible send their exports bound for Chinese ports early to prevent any hold-up when celebrations for the Chinese New year kicks in,” he added.

Santiago said domestic ports are replicating the procedures of the international ports in order to secure safe travel of passengers relative to Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Christmas 2016 and at the same time guarantee just-in-time delivery of domestic goods.

As of the moment, cargo utilization at the two main gateways of the Philippines—the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and the Manila South Harbor (MSH)—remain very healthy at 60 percent or approximately 49,000 twenty-foot equivalent units inside the terminal ready to be withdrawn or exported. Yard productivity at the two ports also remains high with an average of 20-25 moves an hour.

Both terminals attribute the healthy yard utilization and productivity to the Truck Appointment and Booking System as well as the high storage penalty imposed by the Authority.

Cargo volume, on the other hand, is on an uptrend by about 10 percent a month since the start of the third quarter due to the run-up to Christmas.

PPA has likewise maintained the tight security in the domestic ports since the All Saints Day celebration to ensure the safety, security and comfort of passengers while inside the terminals.

“I reiterated to our port personnel to take all the necessary measures to reduce any inconvenience and to make sure that our ports are safe at all times,” Santiago said.

PPA has also assured importers, exporters and cargo owners that ports have enough capacity with the coming Chinese New Year, even though Chinese-owned firms typically shut down operations for a couple of days for the festivities.

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