The Internet-based app will offer real-time information on which container depots have space for empty containers and allow users to book depots online. The first phase will cover on-dock container depots. If successful, the system will be extended to off-dock depots.
In a meeting last week, the Container Depot Association of the Philippines, Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), Manila port operators, truckers, and the app developer tried to identify challenges in returning empty containers that must be addressed by the web-based application.
Among others, truckers raised the issue of who will shoulder additional cost when a truck carrying the empty box is suddenly diverted to another container depot because the designated depot is full.
Another issue is the deadline to be given to a truck to deliver the empty container to the depot it booked.
AISL general manager Atty Max Cruz said a separate meeting with shipping lines will be conducted, and the truckers’ views will be harmonized with those of the liners to make the system more efficient.
“We cannot enhance efficiency in the existing progress unless we re-engineer it,” Cruz told PortCalls after the meeting.
“We start all over again, (know) immediate effects, the loopholes, and then design a more efficient system,” Cruz noted, adding that they should apply international standards in creating the system for returning empty containers.
However, Cruz noted that “no matter how many CYs (container yard) you establish, as long as you can’t ship out the empties, mapupuno rin yan (they’ll still fill up).”
At the end of the day, the best solution still is for “(port) congestion to ease up” to accommodate the overflow of empty containers from depots so that inventory within depots will decline. – Roumina Pablo
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