Home » Ports/Terminals » ATI’s truck-mounted exam starts Jan 12

ASIAN Terminals Inc.’s (ATI) truck-mounted examination (TME) facility will be fully operational starting January 12.

The facility was launched in September but opposition by some port users stalled its full operation. The Bureau of Customs (BOC) earlier approved its use but on a voluntary basis. ATI senior vice president for South Harbor Operations Mark Ripka said the use of the P1.03-million facility allows importers to more quickly move their goods. Truckers will also see faster equipment turnaround while customs brokers will save time clearing cargoes.

Earlier, customs brokers complained of "possible fraud" if the new procedure is used, fearing that customs inspectors may use the procedure to haggle costs. Ripka said ATI has no control over the matter. "We only provide the equipment and facility. But the inspection itself is the prerogative of customs representatives. We cannot do anything about that." He admitted there are presently few users of the TME facility but expressed optimism that the numbers will grow as users realize its benefits.

ATI assistant vice president for South Harbor International Operations Oliver A. Gepiga said the facility provides additional and improved services. "Before, job orders required at least two signatures. Now, we only require one. Also the BOC has extended the examination time. Now they have two working shifts: 8 am to 5 pm and 9 am to 6 pm," he said. Port users and customs inspectors used to undertake the examination of cargoes while inside the main container yard. When examination is completed, an ATI cargo handling equipment lifts the container back to its stacking location while port users will have to wait for the availability of their trucks. Once available, the containers are lifted from its stack onto the truck for transport out of the port.

With the TME, container inspections are centralized at the 1.3-hectare Designated Examination Area (DEA), where truckers will be directed, immediately after picking up their cargoes from the main container yard.

At the DEA, physical inspections will be undertaken from a specialized elevated ramp, without requiring the lift-on and lift-off of container vans. DEA inspections will mainly be open door and spot checks, which make up the bulk of inspections at the terminal. Thorough inspections, however, will remain at the terminal’s container freight station.

The TME facility is equipped with a ramp capable of accommodating 10 to 50 trucks at one time.

Ripka said the company is discussing with the Philippine Ports Authority and the BOC for the possibility of truck-mounted container x-ray, the equipment for which ATI expects to acquire in two to three years.

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