Undelivered ‘balikbayan’ boxes still prevalent

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Association of International Shipping Lines Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement on Wednesday that will address and intensify “measures to eliminate the incidence of abandoned and undelivered balikbayan [returning compatriots]boxes.”

The DTI and AISL will exchange information and examine the origins of packages to also detect unaccredited freight forwarders.

According to the agreement, the DTI would provide its Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) advisories on a regular basis that would update the “accredited sea freight forwarders, foreign consolidators and its local counterparts, and freight forwarders with pending administrative cases and complaints.

The AISL, on the other hand, would screen and examine incoming shipments in their ports of origin.


“We believe that through DTI’s partnership with AISL, the number of complaints on abandoned and undelivered balikbayan boxes will be significantly reduced,” said DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya.

Since 2008, a total of 550 complaints were received by DTI on the matter, which were processed, acted upon and monitored later on. The year 2011 recorded the most complaints at, 208, mostly for undelivered balikbayan boxes.

DTI-PSB Director Victorio Mario Dimagiba said that their office records will be handed to AISL to guide them in “accepting or denying bookings of consolidated box shipment in their areas.”

With the PSB advisories, shipping firms may refuse consolidated box shipments if foreign consolidators and/or its Philippine counterparts have complaints and are without DTI accreditation.

According to Executive Order 514 and PSB Administrative Order 06, DTI-PSB should “implement the accreditation scheme for sea freight forwarders categorized as nonvessel operating common carrier, international freight forwarder and domestic freight forwarder.”

AISL, a nonstock and nonprofit organization, is composed of 41 container shipping lines for Philippine ports and carries about 85 percent of the total volume of the country’s containerized export and import cargoes. It serves as the representative of international container shipping lines in the Philippines.

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