BOC eyes new time release study to spot cargo bottlenecks

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  • The Bureau of Customs will conduct a national time release study to identify and fix cargo clearance bottlenecks
  • The study will include other government agencies that process import and export shipments
  • BOC will meet with World Customs Organization to get details for the national TRS, which it hopes to start this year
  • The 2019 TRS at Manila International Container Port highlighted the need for a paperless customs environment that full computerization and automation can resolve

The Bureau of Customs will conduct a national time release study (TRS) to identify and troubleshoot bottlenecks in the clearance of cargoes.

The TRS aims to get a “full picture of exactly just how long these containers or shipments are actually staying in our ports, Sir, for us to be able to troubleshoot the bottlenecks,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a recent Lower House Committee on Ways and Means hearing.

In a text message to PortCalls, Guerrero said BOC will be meeting with the World Customs Organization (WCO) to get the details for the national TRS.

“We hope to start the national TRS this year,” Guerrero added.

The national TRS will include other government agencies involved in the processing of import and export shipments

BOC since 2019 has been releasing annual TRS to identify delays in the clearance of cargoes and to formulate corrective measures. The studies were conducted with the help of WCO and the Asian Development Bank.

In 2019, the TRS covered the country’s biggest port and collection district, Manila International Container Port (MICP).

The 2019 MICP TRS highlighted the need for a paperless customs environment. It showed that full computerization and automation will avoid the need to manually transfer or bring import documents from one office to another, and will address delays in the processing and release of shipments at ports.

The 2019 TRS showed the average time to process an import shipment in MICP was two days, 10 hours, and three minutes, while the average time to process an export shipment was one hour and 11 minutes.

The 2020 TRS covered more ports, namely Davao, MICP, Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT), Port of Manila (POM), and Zamboanga.

READ: Customs processing improved in five key ports—BOC time release study

According to the 2020 TRS, the average processing time for imported containerized cargo at the five ports were as follows:

  • MICP: 1 day, 22 hours and 9 minutes
  • POM: 2 days, nine hours and 44 minutes
  • Davao port: 2 days, 15 hours and 37 minutes
  • MCT: 1 day, 12 hours, and 5 minutes
  • Zamboanga: No containerized cargo arrived at this port during the TRS period

For processing of exports at the Manila ports, the average time, which covered the processing of export declaration from submission at the Customer Care Portal System (CCPS), were as follows:

  • MICP: 4 hours, 38 minutes and 3 seconds
  • POM: 1 day, 13 minutes and 30 seconds

For exports at the Mindanao ports, processing of which covers the submission of export declaration to issuance of Authority to Load, the average processing times were the following:

  • Zamboanga port: 3 days, 15 hours, 28 minutes and 21 seconds
  • Davao port: 21 hours, 21 minutes and 9 seconds
  • MCT: 19 hours, 6 minutes, 13 seconds

The 2020 TRS showed processing at BOC improved with the introduction of computerization and online systems and enhancement of risk management.

For the 2021 TRS, meanwhile, 12 ports were covered, and the results were as follows:

  • Cebu – import: four days, seven hours, 17 minutes; export: one day, 12 hours, 29 minutes
  • Clark – import: five days, 12 hours, 55 minutes; export: 10 minutes
  • Subic – import: two days, 12 hours, 11 minutes; export: 56 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Ninoy Aquino International Airport – import: three days, 11 hours, 35 minutes; export: 11 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Aparri – import: ongoing verification; export: six days, 17 hours, 37 minutes
  • Batangas – import: five days, two hours, nine minutes, 50 seconds; export: 14 hours, six minutes
  • Iloilo – import: two days, one hour, 24 minutes; export: two hours, 13 minutes
  • Legaspi – import: 14 hours, 21 minutes; export: four days, 16 hours, 34 minutes
  • Limay – import: 22 hours, 57 minutes, 15 seconds; export: five hours, 32 minutes
  • San Fernando – import: two days, two hours, eight minutes; export: 17 hours, 54 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Surigao – import: five days, 18 hours, 33 minutes; export: two days, 15 hours, eight minutes
  • Tacloban – import: ongoing data verification; export: 20 hours, 26 minutes

BOC has yet to make available the final copy of the 2021 TRS.

Guerrero earlier recognized the TRS as a valuable tool in enhancing trade facilitation and determining the various factors affecting operations.

“By identifying the problems and so-called bottlenecks in customs processes and procedures, appropriate solutions or policies can be put in place and we can accomplish our goal of being world-class at the soonest possible time,” Guerrero said. – Roumina Pablo