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IMPROVED communication between international shipping lines and truckers operating in the Philippines would help solve the issue of diversion of trucks in cases when depots no longer have slots to handle empty boxes.

In a dialogue attended by members of the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP), and Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (ACTOO) as well as port operators, truckers asked for better coordination with shipping lines.

It was suggested that shipping lines communicate with truckers early if there are still available slots on depots. Foreign carriers present in the dialogue agreed, but said they should have discussions first with all AISL members.

CTAP president Ruperto Bayocot asked international shipping lines not to issue equipment interchange receipts more than what depots can handle.

Rina Papa of ACTOO said truckers incur additional costs if they fail to deliver empties to the terminals on time as a direct result of the truck diversion. Trucks outside depots waiting for space to free up may also be subject to towing.

Due to increased incidence of towing in the last several months, Papa said ACTOO will soon increase its diversion fee from P3,500 to P5,000.

Foreign carriers agreed greater communication with truckers is “doable” and that this would just mean creating a coordination mechanism.

They admitted that supertyphoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda), which hit the central Philippines on November 8, “aggravated” volume.

AISL general manager Atty. Max Cruz said, “The extensive relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan have impacted on port operations, especially at this time of the year when volume is growing because of the Christmas season.

“But Manila International Container Terminal and Asian Terminals are doing something about it, hand in hand with international carriers. This is also a matter of coordination among shipping lines, truckers and the container depots. An effective communication mechanism must be put in place by the lines.”

AISL assured truckers their concerns will be discussed by member lines and that they will come up with a solution in about a month. –– Roumina M. Pablo

Image courtesy of Sailom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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