The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) said operations in two of its largest collection districts have been affected by the expanded Manila truck ban, causing a large drop in revenue collections on the first day of its implementation alone, the agency said in a press release.
Initial reports from the Port of Manila (POM) and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) showed a drastic slowdown in the release of container vans with MICP only able to release four on Monday, February 24, from a daily average of 2,150; while no container vans exited POM yesterday (Feb 24), from an average of 1,200 container vans per day from February 1 to 21, 2014.
The slowdown has consequently resulted in a dramatic decline in revenue collections from both ports—from a daily average of almost P360 million, MICP was only able to generate P262.8 million, a 27% decline. Revenues of POM dropped 47% to P134.4 million from the previous daily average of P253 million.
POM and MICP are the two biggest ports in the Philippines in terms of cargo volume and customs revenues, accounting for about 48% of total collections of the entire BOC.
“While there are conditions and factors that are beyond the control of the Bureau of Customs, we are ready to adjust to the needs of importers and other stakeholders,” said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.
Sevilla added that they are coordinating with affected stakeholders, including the Port Users Confederation, as well as Asian Terminals, Inc. and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc., private port operators that run POM and MICP, respectively.
A meeting at the BOC was called by Sevilla on Feb 25 to tackle contingency measures.
On Monday, the Manila City government implemented an expanded ban on trucks and other vehicles with gross weight above 4,500 kilograms from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven hours longer than the previous restriction, except on Saturdays and Sundays. The ban exempts trucks carrying perishables and petroleum products, as well as vehicles used for government projects.
An official from the Chamber of Customs Broker Inc. told PortCalls he expects a 99% decline in the number of brokers processing cargo withdrawal by end of the week if the ban continues. Other brokers contacted by PortCalls expressed similar sentiments. – with reports from Roumina Pablo
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