Home » Customs & Trade » Philippine importers find GPS cargo seal too expensive

THE looming mandatory use of electronic global positioning system (GPS)-equipped barrier seals (EGBS) on cargo transported within the Philippines is unacceptable because it demands from businesses huge financial investments. This was the emerging sentiment among importers who attended last week’s meeting in Manila with officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“The GPS fee is too much. Using the current practice of underguarding and the GTSB (General Transportation Surety Bond) is cheaper,” importers who attended the meeting said.

“We are willing to take the consequences if we underguard as we feel that the risk (of hijacking, etc) is the same whether we use the GPS or not.”

If the BOC requires mandatory use of the EGBS, then the fee should be the same as that paid for underguarding, they stressed.

At the moment, Société Generale de Surveillance (SGS) is the only company accredited by the BOC as sole GPS service provider. The SGS contract is being finalized for formal awarding.

The SGS fee for its service is P2,250 per container from the port of discharge to destination. This compares with P250-P300 per container paid for underguarding, the importers pointed out.

This is also in contrast to the transit processing fee of P1,100 for containerized cargo or P400 for breakbulk cargo allowed to be collected under the Customs administrative order that mandates the use of the EGBS. Under the same order, a $5 container security fee may also be collected.

The use of the EGBS allows BOC to track and account for cargo in transit from the port of discharge to its final destination. It will also facilitate customs processing of transit cargo.

BOC is negotiating with the freeport zones of Subic and Clark to pilot test the EGBS for transshipment cargoes.

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