Home » Customs & Trade » BOC: Container security fee stays at current levels for now

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) is shelving a planned increase in the container security fee (CSF), saying current fees are enough to cover maintenance costs for x-ray machines and build savings for machine loan repayment which starts in 2012.

From the CSF of $5 for every 20-footer and $10 for every 40-footer, the BOC collected P217 million from May to December 2007.

BOC originally wanted the fee to be $25 and $50 per 20-footer and 40-footer, respectively, but strong lobby from Port Users Confederation Inc. and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry cut the rate to its current levels.

“I am okay with the fee for now. What is important is that (with the use of the x-ray machines) we have stopped so many misdeclarations and other forms of smuggling in our ports (which have) cushioned the effects of the lower CSF. For me, that is more valuable than collecting more,” Customs commissioner Napoleon Morales explained.

“Nonetheless, we will still pursue our planned increase in CSF in due time particularly if the five-year grace period for loan repayment is about to lapse,” Morales said.

From May to November 2007, the BOC facilitated the release of 12,622 containers without the need for physical inspection and seized 30 misdeclared shipments, nine of which were forfeited in favor of government.

In July, the BOC x-ray unit collected an additional P362 million at the formal entry division at the Port of Manila from items such as electronics, motor vehicles, hardware, and other miscellaneous products.

With the help of x-ray technology, the agency this year wants to jack up collection by at least 10%, keep physical examination of containerized shipments to about 10% of the total number of containers, and increase the seizure of prohibited and regulated goods by at least 100%.

The BOC has almost completed the roll out of 30 x-ray machines at the Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, Cebu and Food Terminal Inc, Manila Harbour Centre, Subic Bay, Clarkfield, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos, Batangas, and Zamboanga.

Two thirds of the CSF proceeds will be used to pay the 20-year loan; the rest will go to a fund that will pay for the administrative and maintenance cost of operating the machines.

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