The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Friday announced it would prioritize the release of food shipments from the Port of Manila to avert looming food shortage and reduce the inflationary effects of port congestion.
In a statement, PPA General Manager Juan Sta. Ana explained the move will somehow address the looming food shortage in Metro Manila even as the PPA and the port operators scramble to decongest the ports at the soonest possible time.
“Congestion continues to decline at the Ports of Manila but we cannot wait until condition normalizes before delivering these food items,” Sta. Ana said.
The order however will be limited to containers cleared with the Bureau of Customs.
“The marching order of the Cabinet Cluster on Port Con–gestion is to prioritize food items and shipments first in-first out, and address food shortage as well as the inflation effect of the congestion,” Sta. Ana added.
They will also are ask the shipping lines to also prioritize food items in hauling their cargoes currently stucked at different foreign ports.
PPA added that the two port operators have designated dedicated areas for food shipments inside their ports in order to prolong the storage period of the items while waiting for Customs clearance and delivery.
At present, congestion at the Port of Manila continues to decline with yard utilization almost down to the desired level of 80 percent.
No chicken shortage
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reiterated that there is no shortage of chicken but there was a temporary tightness of supply as growers were affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Glenda last July.
“We do not have shortage of chicken. The problem is in the supply and distribution,” DA Assistant Secretary Leandro Gazmin pointed out during the weekly forum, Balitaan sa Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City.
DA spokesperson Director Dennis Arpia for his part expressed optimism that the poultry industry can easily recover because it takes only 28 to 32 days to raise and then prepare the chicken for distribution.
Region 4-A or the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) area in Southern Luzon is the second largest chicken supplier in the country.
News reports said that poultry farms in the provinces of Quezon, Laguna, Cavite, and Batangas lost around P 250 million worth of chickens during Typhoon Glenda.