PHILIPPINE truckers, customs brokers and the port regulator/administrator separately asked the Manila city government to designate a 24-hour “free truck corridor” so as not to disrupt the flow of trade when the city imposes a daytime ban on cargo trucks.
Concern among truckers and brokers, echoed by the Philippine Ports Authority, was stirred by a proposed city council ordinance that seeks to regulate the use of Manila streets by limiting cargo trucks to a 9pm to 5am window to pull out cargoes from the ports.
Draft Ordinance No. 7570, or An Ordinance Amending Certain Provisions Of Ordinance No. 8092, Otherwise Known As The “Traffic Management Code Of The City Of Manila” and Appendix V Thereof and for Other Purposes” would go into effect as soon as it is passed by the council and signed into law by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
In separate position papers sent to Manila councilor Ernesto C. Isip Jr., chairman of the Committee on Laws, the truckers and brokers said they do not object to City Hall’s moves to solve Manila’s traffic congestion but only voiced out their apprehension over the draft ordinance’s “potential economic impact.”
The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines Inc. (CTAP) cited among other things the possible clogging at unloading points when over 4,000 trucks from various points of Luzon “deliver goods at the same time” at night in city warehouses.
CTAP cited the likely damage to roads due to truck bunching, exposure of deliveries to hijackers, delayed delivery of products that would cause diminished economic activity in multiple industries and other “grave effects” of the daytime truck ban.
The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) also sent its position paper to Isip, saying ports, “no matter how efficient”, will not be able to accommodate huge volume of deliveries and withdrawal of cargoes from 9pm to 5am, especially since around 75% of the country’s imports arrive through the Port of Manila and Manila International Container Terminal.”
“Eight hours is not enough to fully accommodate the need of importers to receive their cargoes on time,” CCBI said, thus, resulting in delays in cargo delivery.
CCBI said delays in cargo delivery would translate to delayed production/manufacturing activities; no manufacturing activity no salary for those paid on a per piece basis or those on-call employees; and reduction in the countries’ gross domestic product.
“The above mentioned potential impact does not include the potential impact to the export industry and the source of income of the marginalized truck drivers, helpers and truck operators,” CCBI noted.
Instead, CCBI is suggesting “free truck corridors” to “provide unhampered flow of cargoes in and out of the ports” 24 hours daily, in “the interest of trade facilitation and economic growth.”
The CCBI’s proposal supported the stand of CTAP, outlined in a letter of its president Ruperto Bayocot to Isip, which said the truckers’ group is amenable to the proposed amendments to Section 93 of Ordinance No.8092 “provided that a 24-hour alternate truck route should also be incorporated in the amendment”.
Meanwhile, Engr. Contante Fariñas Jr., the PPA’s port district manager for Manila, also wrote the city council chairman asking that the proposed amendment to the city ordinance “conform with the national policy of ‘ensuring the smooth flow of water-borne commerce passing through the country’s ports’,” adding that the proposal would have a “deep and lasting impact” on domestic and international trade.
Instead of enforcing a daytime truck ban, Fariñas called for the implementation of the Metro Manila Development Authority’s 6am-9am and 5pm to 9pm daily truck ban hours.
He also supported the truckers and haulers’ proposal for a 24-hour free truck corridor” or specific alternate routes for an unhampered flow of cargoes in and out of the ports.
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