TWO major trade organizations have asked President Benigno Aquino III for a speedy resolution to the problematic transport of goods to and from the ports of Manila caused by tighter controls imposed by the city government on goods-carrying trucks.
The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) and Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines Inc. (SEIP) urged the President in a joint statement to designate a senior official, preferably cabinet level, who should convene right away a multi-sectoral dialogue ahead of the pick-up in the country’s trade volume in May and June of this year.
“The local and foreign business community are supporting all efforts to better utilize the available capacities of the ports of Batangas and Subic. We know there are no options but to use the ports of Manila more effectively,” JFC and SEIPI said in their joint statement.
“We are aware that individual stakeholders discuss solutions with individual affected parties at the moment, but the fact remains that only an inclusive stakeholders’ roundtable [dialogue]can assess the magnitude and the complexity of the issue and develop short-, mid-term, and long-term solutions for the Manila ports and the usage of the ports of Batangas and Subic,” the two trade chambers said.
Unless an inclusive roundtable dialogue among all stakeholders is held as soon as possible, logistical challenges and difficulties may be aggravated, they said. A senior Cabinet official should head and lead this search for a solution, and ensure the implementation of identified solutions.
Stakeholders to be invited should include: port operators; shipping lines; truckers; officials of the local government units of Manila, Caloocan, and Parañaque, as well as officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways; Department of Transportation and Communication; Metro Manila Development Authority; National Housing Authority; Philippine Ports Authority; Philippine Economic Zone Authority; Bureau of Customs; and foreign and local chambers.
The business community believes that better management of the flow of goods-carrying trucks, supplemented by an effective appointment system, will create less traffic disruption, allow more effective use of port facilities and, keep transport and related costs at a reasonable level flow of imports and exports going.
Ports in Manila have a goods-processing capacity of about three million twenty-footer-equivalent units (TEUs), while ports in Batangas and Subic have a combined capacity of about 800,000 TEUs.
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), a member of the JFC, earlier proposed seven measures to ease the negative impact of the tighter trucks ban imposed by the Manila city government. These include the elimination of all truck delivery bans and the formulation of a proper, coordinated and efficient 24-hour truck route regulation system.