The LPS is currently being required but only for bulk and breakbulk shipments. Under Customs Memorandum Order No. 18-2010, BOC created the Bulk & Break Bulk Cargo Clearance Enhancement Program and mandated that all bulk and breakbulk shipments be inspected at the country of origin to ensure they conform to the declared quantity and quality of goods.
LPS reports must also be submitted by surveyors 12 hours before arrival of bulk and breakbulk shipments.
One of the CMO’s objectives is to curb technical smuggling and increase revenue generation while facilitating release of imported articles.
The BOC started requiring LPS for bulk and breakbulk cargoes in May 2010.
Customs Deputy Commissioner for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group Atty. Agaton Teodoro Uvero told PortCalls the BOC Accredited Cargo Surveying Companies (ACSC) for bulk and breakbulk cargo will be allowed to offer LPS on container cargo, without the need for a separate accreditation.
The six ACSCs are Admiral, Bureau Veritas, Cotecna Inspection SA Philippines, Inspectorate, Intertek, and Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) Philippines.
A PortCalls source affiliated with one of the ACSCs said most smuggled goods arrive in containers so an LPS for box cargoes would be helpful in mitigating such practice.
The source likened the LPS to pre-shipment inspection, previously conducted by SGS for the Philippine government, “but the difference is now they (LPS providers) don’t do the value and tariff classification”, which is already being done by the BOC.
The source said there had been previous consultations with surveyors and other government agencies on the plan.
Former customs commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon early last year expressed interest in implementing the scheme, along with GPS tracking of containers; none of the projects pushed through.
The source said if the program is pursued, he expects other players to enter the field.
Asked if there would be adjustments for ACSCs if BOC implemented the LPS on containerized cargoes, the source said: “That’s not a problem. That’s (survey) our core business.” As it is, surveyors already conduct LPS on boxes for clients who request it, he added.
The service cost, the source said, would depend on the cost of doing business per origin country and on the service provider contracted.
Containerized cargoes reached 5.244 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year, 0.70% higher than the 5.207 million TEUs in 2012, according to the Philippine Ports Authority.
A recent statement by the BOC said nine out of 10 shipments the agency placed under alert were found to have been either misdeclared or undervalued. –– Roumina M. Pablo
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