Home » Ports/Terminals » Stop further stockpiling of empties, truckers ask operators

THE Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) is urging the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to issue an order disallowing International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI) and Asian Terminals, Inc (ATI) from further stock piling empty containers of client shipping lines in their respective container yards.

Instead, CTAP wants empties diverted to a container yard or a vacant lot outside Manila to decongest the ICTSI-operated Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and ATI-operated South Harbor.

CTAP member retired General Edgar Aglipay is offering his three-hectare land south of Manila as temporary parking space for empties.

The pile-up of empty containers has been identified as one of the reasons for congestion at the two ports along with slow procedures at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and strong import volumes.

Both ICTSI and ATI said they have a ready standby area for empty containers but requires a PPA directive to activate its use.

"We strongly suggest that ATI and ICTSI temporarily suspend slots or spaces allocated for their (shipping line) clients until the large volume of importations has subsided," CTAP president Ruperto Bayocot told PortCalls.

He said the declogging will, within a week, help normalize the flow of containers in and out the facilities even with the continued strong imports.

ICTSI and ATI noted a 15% hike in imports but also a dip in exports of late, which have led to the pileup of empties, according to Bayocot.

"The traffic congestion at the North and South Harbors has affected the trucking industry the most, causing delays for some of our scheduled deliveries," Bayocot said, adding the association has already informed PPA general manager Atty. Juan Sta. Ana of its concerns in a letter dated December 6.

Now truckers reportedly wait anywhere from five to eight hours before a cargo is loaded onto their trailers and about the same time to return empties to the ports. This compares to two to three hours of waiting under normal conditions.

Bigger truckers are reportedly implementing their own measures to lick the congestion issue by stock piling as much containers as they can in their respective garages.

The free-delivery system recently activated at the MICT and South Harbor is not enough to reduce congestion to a manageable level, Bayocot said.

Free delivery allows consignees whose cargoes arrive at the two ports on Friday to pull them out the next day without incurring any penalties as long as all import papers are in order. Ordinarily, cargoes that arrive on a Friday get stuck at the ports throughout the weekend because there are no BOC personnel to conduct customs processing.

CTAP is also eyeing a meeting with the BOC to push for the relocation of overstaying and abandoned containers at the MICT and South Harbor in a bid to further reduce congestion. Estimates place about 1,200 boxes overstaying at MICT and 800 at the South Harbor.

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