Home » Ports/Terminals » PPA, terminal operators: Congestion now easing

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and operators of the South Harbor and the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) said they expect port congestion to be more manageable beginning next month.

The group said conditions have improved significantly in the last few days due to measures put in place by PPA, South Harbor operator Asian Terminals, Inc (ATI) and MICT operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI).

These measures include non-acceptance from truckers of empty containers, deployment of sweepers by shipping lines to transport empties, and the greater pace of withdrawal of overstaying cargoes.

The groups conducted an emergency consultation last Sunday in response to an open letter by the Aduana Business Group published in major dailies on that day. In its letter, the Aduana Business Group complained of heavy port congestion, adding that the implementation of the Anti-Overloading Law by the Department of Public Works and Highways will only aggravate the situation since it will require the deployment of more trucks.

The Anti-Overloading Law uses the 13.5-ton per axle rule to limit the amount of cargo a truck can transport.

During the consultation, ATI and ICTSI claimed vessel turnaround time has now been cut by half from 36 hours during the height of the congestion in November and December.

"We are now in a situation where we can say that congestion has subsided and we are gradually going back to normal as far as managing the cargo traffic in South Harbor and MICT is concerned," PPA general manager Atty. Juan Sta said.

"In two weeks’ time, everything will be back to normal."

ATI and ICTSI are negotiating to lease areas for use as empty container depot to further help ease the congestion. ATI is eyeing a two-hectare lot in Sta. Mesa and ICTSI, a three-hectare property south of Manila.

Aside from having inland depots for empties, the operators are negotiating with importers to withdraw their containers at the soonest possible time.

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