BOC orders 24/7 customs clearance

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BOC implements 24/7 customs clearance
  • The Bureau of Customs has ordered 24/7 customs clearance to ensure uninterrupted processing of sea and air shipments nationwide
  • The move is in compliance with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s recent order to BOC and the Department of Agriculture to implement round-the-clock operations
  • Customs commissioner Bienvenido Rubio directed all BOC district collectors to immediately comply

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has ordered 24/7 customs clearance to ensure uninterrupted processing of sea and air shipments nationwide in compliance with such order from President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. both to the BOC and Department of Agriculture.

Under Office of the Commissioner (OCOM) Memo No. 29-2024 dated June 6, Customs commissioner Bienvenido Rubio directed all BOC district collectors to immediately implement a round-the-clock deployment of teams.

He also instructed all concerned officers to coordinate with the DA, shipping lines, arrastre and terminal operators, warehouse facilities, financial institutions, and other stakeholders in the supply chain to facilitate the continuous inspection, clearance, and payment processes of shipments.

In an earlier statement, BOC said it supports Marcos’ directive for 24/7 operations, noting it recognizes “the imperative need for round-the-clock operations to accommodate the increasing influx of shipments into the ports” but that this “requires collaborative support from all stakeholders in the supply chain.” These stakeholders include shipping lines, arrastre operators, terminal operators, warehouse facilities, financial institutions, and the trucking industry.

“Stakeholders play a vital role in ensuring efficient cargo release, encompassing several stages: pre-customs, customs proper, and post-customs processing stages, each crucial for efficient trade facilitation,” BOC explained.

In order to operationalize round-the-clock operations, BOC said: “The synchronization of operations among these stakeholders is essential to minimize delays and ensure the swift processing and release of cargoes, contributing to the overall efficiency of the supply chain.”

During the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC)-Infrastructure Sector Group meeting on June 5, Marcos directed both the BOC and the DA to implement 24/7 operations, highlighting the importance of continuing shipment process to accommodate the arrival of more ships into the country, saying: “In this business, there’s no afterhours. It can – it’s ready 24/7. So, let’s not put an extra team, let’s just keep it running. Whatever you have there in the day, let the same number of people that you have all 24 hours,” Marcos said.

“So, three eight-hour shifts,” he added.

READ: Marcos orders 24/7 operations at DA, BOC for uninterrupted shipment processing

The PSAC, which recommended the shifting schedule to ensure 24/7 operations across all government services relating to logistics and supply chains, said this arrangement will ensure continuous inspection, clearance, and payment process, significantly reducing costs and time, particularly on the x-ray scanning operations of the BOC and DA’s office tasked to inspect reefer vans.

PSAC lead convenor and Aboitiz Group CEO Sabin Aboitiz in a statement said Marcos’ directives “mark a significant step towards modernizing our infrastructure and logistics sectors.”

“By ensuring 24/7 port operations and integrating water-related projects, we are poised to see substantial improvements in efficiency and economic growth. The commitment to resolving road blockages and developing a comprehensive supply chain roadmap will further streamline our processes and reduce costs.”

The PSAC Infrastructure Logistics Subsector also pushed the need for a comprehensive supply chain roadmap to cut costs and address various issues, including erratic pricing, local policies, and toll fees.

PSAC said Marcos supported the proposal, emphasizing the importance of policy reforms to enhance competitiveness.

Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. reported ongoing discussions with trucking companies to enforce Executive Order No. 41, which bans local government units from collecting pass-through fees on national roads.

The directive comes amid numerous issues faced by the shipping and logistics industry, in particular the ongoing Red Sea crisis. Since late last year, Houthi militant rebels have been attacking commercial vessels plying the Red Sea with the goal of ending Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip triggered by the October 7 attack in southern Israel by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

The attacks have forced various shipping companies to suspend ship traffic through the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, a major shipping route. Ships have diverted some of their vessels to a longer journey through the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

The diversion of vessels around the Cape of Good Hope has disrupted vessel arrival schedules at major ports around the world with off-schedule arrivals and has caused a “vessels bunching” effect.

Singapore port—the second busiest port in the world in terms of tonnage and the world’s busiest transshipment hub—has seen a significant increase in vessel arrivals since the beginning of 2024.

Severe congestion at the port is leading to berthing delays for ships lasting as long as seven days.