Long Way Ahead for Manilla despite Truck Ban Lifting

Manila International Container Terminal

The port of Manilla, the Philippines will not restore to normal operation by mid-2015 despite efforts to clear out the port congestion, including the most recent turn of events that resulted in lifting of the truck ban that caused the congestion in the first place.

The truck ban implemented in the City of Manila was officially lifted on September 13 with the aim of enabling the government to decongest the port.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said the ban could be restored at any time should the traffic get worse in Manila, adding that the situation is being closely monitored.

According to Christian Gonzalez, Chief of Operations for International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) in Asia-Pacific, it will take much time to restore the normal operation in the port despite the lifting of the ban.

Up till now decongestion efforts have had very little success even with the ‘last mile’ scheme due to the unsynchronized restrictions being implemented by the different local government units to truckers, the Philippine Ports Authority said.

The Philippine Ports Authority and the Manila port operators said last week that they were sending overstaying customs-cleared ready-to-go boxes to Laguna.

The first batch was due for transfer last Sunday morning and the action is planned to be repeated for four Sundays by both ICTSI and Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI).

Both ICTSI and ATI, meanwhile, said they were considering to jointly charter a bigger capacity vessel to haul more containers out of the port.

According to PPA General Manager Juan C. Sta. Ana, they are forced to relocate more containers to other areas to the detriment of the consuming public to provide spaces for incoming import cargoes inside the Manila ports.

Importers, brokers and cargo owners that have been affected by the transfer will still have to clear their cargo with the Manila operators and once all the cargo-handling fees including the transfer cost and other charges have been settled, importers can pick up their cargoes in an ‘as is where is’ basis.

“We will continue with this initiative until we have met the desired number of containers inside the two Manila ports, which is equivalent to an 80% yard utilization,” Sta. Ana stressed.

World Maritime News Staff, September 17, 2014; Image: ICTSI





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