BOC-Clark district collector pushes transshipment corridor via CAO

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BOC-Clark district collector pushes transshipment corridor via CAO
Bureau of Customs-Port of Clark District Collector Atty Erastus sandino Austria at the recent Central Luzon Transport & Trade Conference 2024.
  • Bureau of Customs-Port of Clark district collector Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria recommended the issuance of a customs administrative order to create a transshipment corridor for the ports of Clark, Subic, and Bataan
  • The CAO will provide the legal basis for the transshipment of cargoes between the three ports, he said
  • The proposal is timely because of the recent announcement by the governments of the Philippines, US, and Japan to develop the Luzon Economic Corridor that will support connectivity between Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas

Bureau of Customs-Port of Clark district collector Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria has recommended the issuance of a customs administrative order (CAO) to create a transshipment corridor for the ports of Clark, Subic, and Bataan.

The CAO will provide the legal basis for the transshipment of cargoes between the three ports, Austria said in a presentation during the recent Central Luzon Transport & Trade Conference in Clark, Pampanga organized by PortCalls and the Philippine Multimodal Transport Association.

Austria explained that under the current framework in the law, transshipment can only happen within the same customs collection district.

Under Republic Act No. 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, transshipment refers to the customs procedure under which goods are transferred under control from the importing means of transport to the exporting means of transport within the area of one customs office.

Austria noted that the Customs commissioner under Section 206 of Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act has the power to “from time to time revisit the administrative subdivisions of the Bureau of Customs.”

He clarified his recommendation does not mean combining the collection districts “but rather simply (to) give life to the transshipment corridor.

“…I believe in this and I really think as the district collector of Port of Clark that this is going to benefit the whole ecosystem here all the way to Subic and all the way as far as Bataan. If we do that it will be one of the pillars, one of the foundations to really create and position us into a mega logistics hub in the Asia Pacific,” Austria said.

He said the Customs commissioner “sees the potential for this but naturally there has to be a study by the national office as well because when he exercises this power, he makes a recommendation to the Secretary of Finance.”

CAOs issued by BOC have to be approved by the Department of Finance, its mother agency.

Austria said the proposal is timely because of the recent announcement by the governments of the Philippines, US, and Japan to develop the Luzon Economic Corridor to support connectivity between Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas.

“The focus for this is infrastructure development, but Customs also has to make adjustments in its processes to give life to it. There is a (need for a) legal platform for us to be able to move goods through transshipment,” Austria explained.

He said the recommendation for the issuance of a CAO is BOC-Clark’s approach to pursuing the transshipment corridor initiative.

A similar initiative by the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council’s (SCADC) seeks the fruition of the program via an executive order (EO).

“Now…there are different approaches but I have explained this to the different authorities—SCAD, CDC (Clark Development Corp.), the Office of the Commissioner” and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive, Austria said.

Via EO

SCADC Resolution No. 1 dated April 22 approved the endorsement of an EO to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to declare Clark Freeport Zone, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and Freeport Area of Bataan as transshipment hubs and providing for simplified customs procedures on the transfer and clearance of goods at the ports of Subic, Clark, and Bataan.

The proposed EO, endorsed by the BOC-SCAD technical working group following several meetings, also aims to declare the Subic-Clark Economic Corridor as a transshipment corridor.

The proposed EO includes drafting and adoption of an automated unified customs procedure specifically for the sea-air-sea transshipment for exportation purposes between Clark International Airport and the ports of Subic and Bataan.

One of the mandates of SCADC is to supervise the development of Clark Freeport Zone, Subic Freeport Zone, and the Subic-Clark corridor into a mega-logistics hub under EO No. 504-A, which defines the powers and functions of the council.

Subic-Clark Alliance for Development executive director Atty. Carminda Fabros told PortCalls said the proposed EO was recently endorsed by Finance Secretary Ralph Recto and has been submitted to Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista for further instructions.

Bautista, who is also the SCADC chairman, was authorized under Resolution No. 1 to represent SCADC to obtain the support and approval of Marcos. – Roumina Pablo

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