The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said that international gateway ports have once again almost reached their full capacity, which could lead to inefficiency inside the ports, prompting the agency to renew calls to withdraw all overstaying cargoes.
PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said Manila ports have become congested anew with yard utilization reaching over 90 percent.
“We are appealing to consignees to continue on withdrawing their cargoes to sustain the momentum. In the meantime, PPA is coordinating with the BOC (Bureau of Customs) for the disposition of the 800+ overstaying reefer containers in order to make up much needed space in the reefer yard of Manila International Container Terminal (MICT),” Santiago said.
Last week, International Container Terminal Services Inc. appealed to owners and consignees of cargoes to pull out overstaying containers inside the terminal.
ICTSI’s flagship port, MICT, and the Asian Terminal Inc., (ATI)’s port, Manila South Harbor have recorded 96 to 98 percent yard utilization.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the last time they called the attention of cargo shippers and consignees was when the ports’ yard utilization reached 75 percent.
“We are targeting an approximate of 60-percent utilization to achieve an ideal operation.
This congestion will not only limit the movement of cargoes in our ports, it will also result to delays of cargo delivery, which will affect prices of goods. And that’s not what we want right now, or ever.” Tugade said.
PPA has issued Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 20-01 that states: “Reefers staying at the terminal for more than 30 days and are not withdrawn by April 14, 2020 will be considered abandoned by the Bureau of Customs and will be disposed of in accordance with the law.”
“If we continue to ignore calls to withdraw even only those cleared, ready for delivery and overstaying cargoes, our ports are in danger of total collapse, resulting in full-blown port congestion, or worst, a shutdown and consequently, a shortage in the much needed goods and supplies which are expected to address the demands of the market,” Santiago said.
“We are appealing to consignees to continue on withdrawing their cargoes to sustain the momentum. In the meantime, PPA is coordinating with the BOC for the disposition of the 800+ overstaying reefer containers in order to make up much needed space in the reefer yard of MICT,” he said.
PPA has designated an area at the Manila North Harbor for the accelerated transfer of all overstaying foreign containers already cleared for delivery or withdrawal to maintain the high operational efficiency and productivity of the MICT during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Meanwhile, PPA has amended its travel guidelines for cargoes to and from Philippine ports in line with Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As one Act.”
Under PPA Memo Circular 13-2020, trucks carrying cargoes from one port to another in the country, regardless of whether they are traversing a body or bodies of water, are allowed continuous access to and from the ports.
Likewise, those carrying empty containers for withdrawal and repositioning would also be given free pass to and from the ports and inland container depots.
The truck drivers and helpers would also be subjected to stringent health protocols by concerned units at the ports before they would be allowed to enter or leave the port/s and proceed to their next or final destination.