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BOC orders anew quick release of reefer goods as DTI worries about “impending reefer congestion”

  • Bureau of Customs Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group Memo 446-2021 dated August 6 reiterated the need for strict implementation of Joint Administrative Order No. 20-01
  • JAO 20-01 seeks to expedite release of refrigerated containers and dry cargoes from the ports during the enhanced community quarantine
  • In another memo dated August 11, AOCG deputy commissioner said AOCG memo 446-2021 applies only to reefer agricultural goods
  • The reiteration is in keeping with Department of Trade and Industry information of an “impending reefer congestion” due to projected volume of imports

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reiterated the need to strictly implement Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 20-01, which seeks to expedite release of refrigerated containers and dry cargoes from ports during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

In Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG) Memorandum No. 446-2021 dated August 9, port operations service director Bienvenido Rubio said Office of the Commissioner Memo No. 75-2020, which directs strict implementation of JAO 20-01, must be stringently enforced.

AOCG deputy commissioner Edward James Dy Buco in another memo dated August 11, however, clarified that AOCG Memo 446-2021 only applies to reefer agricultural goods and will remain in effect until the state of public health emergency is lifted.

Dy Buco added the reiteration is “pursuant to the report of/information provided by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of an impending ‘reefer’ congestion brought about by the projected volume of imports and to ensure the unhampered delivery of services.”

According to BOC, yard utilization at Manila South Harbor and Manila International Container Port were at 56% and 75.01%, respectively, as of August 11.

READ: JAO fast tracks release of cargoes to address port congestion

JAO 20-01 was issued on April 2, 2020 to “resolve specific issues arising from restrictions imposed under the enhanced community quarantine to prevent congestion at the ports which may unduly cause disruption in the supply chain and impede availability of basic necessities and essential goods.”

JAO 20-01 was signed by BOC, DTI, Department of Agriculture, and Philippine Ports Authority, and remains in effect until the state of public health emergency is lifted.

AOCG Memo 446-2021 in particular reiterates provisions under Rule IV on customs clearance during a COVID-19 outbreak, and Rule III on abandonment for non-withdrawal of reefer containers.

Under Rule IV, importers/consignees must lodge and file online the goods declaration two days from the date of discharge. BOC should issue the final assessment on the goods declared no later than 24 hours from the date of online filing of the goods declaration.

Importers/consignees should pay, preferably online, the duties, taxes, and other charges within 24 hours from the date the final assessment by BOC is issued.

Importers/consignees have three days to claim the goods from the date of payment otherwise the goods will be declared abandoned and disposed of by BOC.

For reefers, importers/consignees should lodge and file online the goods declaration prior to arrival of the vessel or within 48 hours from the date of discharge.

BOC should issue the final assessment of the goods declared no later than 24 hours from the date of online filing of the goods declaration.

Imports/consignees should pay, preferably online, duties, taxes, and other charges within 24 hours from date of issuance of the final assessment by BOC.

Importers/consignees have 24 hours to claim the goods from date of payment, or the goods will be declared abandoned.

Under Rule III, AOCG Memo 446-2021 reiterates all refrigerated containers must be pulled out from the terminal within seven days, except for chilled cargoes which are given five days from issuance of JAO 20-01.

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