The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has finished inspecting 412 overstaying containers at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), part of efforts to free up space and improve efficiency at the port, a March 20 statement from the Bureau said.
The 412 are among about 1,100 overstaying containers that BOC-MICP has identified for physical examination. Since January BOC-MICP has been expediting the examination of the contents of overstaying containers to determine if they are valuable enough to be auctioned, or if they have to be disposed of in accordance with law.
“MICP is proactive in upholding its mandate of facilitating the flow of trade. Through the expedited inspection of overstaying containers, MICP can dispose [of] and auction off shipments faster,” MICP district collector Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria said in the statement.
To speed up the examination, BOC-MICP said it has coordinated with port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) about allocating enough slots during regular examination schedules for the inspection of overstaying containers at the designated examination area (DEA). During Saturdays, all slots are dedicated to examining the overstaying containers.
BOC-MICP has also augmented the manpower of the Auction and Cargo Disposal Division by tasking examiners from the port’s Formal Entry Division to help inspect overstaying containers.
BOC-MICP’s Overstaying Containers Oversight Committee has also been closely monitoring in real time the status of shipments which remain unfiled, unpaid, and unclaimed within the periods specified under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
BOC-MICP said that, over the next months, it will continue to examine more overstaying containers, and that it may finish inspecting all the more or less 1,100 containers in less than two months.
Austria on March 8 said MICP’s yard utilization was hovering between 75% and 76%, down from the 97% to 100% early this year. For months, utilization at Manila’s international terminals, including MICP, had been high due to a number of reasons, prompting the government and the private sector to implement measures to address congestion. As of March 8, Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the Manila ports were no longer congested.