Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Maritime, Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » Cargoes overstaying beyond 30 days face abandonment under proposed order

Manila International Container Terminal

The government is drafting an order requiring all cargoes overstaying at the port for more than 30 days to be withdrawn within five days or face abandonment.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Finance (DOF), and Department of Agriculture (DA), among other government agencies, have agreed to create a joint administrative order (JAO) to put in place measures that will address congestion at Manila ports, DTI said in a statement.

Under the draft JAO, overstaying cargoes for more than 30 days since ship discharge that are not pulled out within five days from the JAO’s date of effectivity will be tagged abandoned.

Containers arriving after the JAO has been issued must be withdrawn within 10 days from discharge, or be declared abandoned.

The JAO gives priority processing for imported cargoes, particularly food, medicine, medical and basic necessities.

All refrigerated containers must be pulled out within seven days, except chilled cargoes which are given five days to be withdrawn from issuance of the JAO. Unclaimed reefers are granted a three-day grace period before being declared abandoned.

Appropriate penalties will be imposed by PPA “to ensure that consignees and importers withdraw the cargo within the window provided,” DTI noted.

Upon publication, the JAO will remain in effect until the state of public health emergency is lifted, subject to changes as may be instructed by the Office of the President.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier directed BOC, PPA, DTI, DA, and other attached agencies and bureaus to issue a joint memorandum circular providing specific guidelines to address disruptions in the supply chain to ensure that essential goods, in particular food, medicine, and other basic commodities, are available.

READ: As supply chain disruption looms, IATF orders removal of containers from congested MICT

“We have discussed this in previous IATF meetings and will soon issue a resolution on this. We are currently finalizing a Joint Administrative Order with PPA, BOC, DOF, DA, and other involved agencies to expedite the withdrawal of overstaying containers,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

“This is very important because port congestion creates disruptions in our supply chain. It will hinder the flow of goods and cause delays in the delivery of cargo, which will then affect the prices of goods in the market. It creates a domino effect,” Lopez explained.

“We also need to free up space in our container yards to accommodate the arrival of cargoes containing food items, medicines, and protective equipment for our front liners,” he added.

Yard utilization at Manila’s international terminals—Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and Manila South Harbor—is almost at 100% level as majority of cargoes have remained idle after implementation of the enhanced community quarantine starting March 17, PPA earlier said.

READ: Port shutdown looms as overstaying cargoes clog Manila terminals

As of March 27, more than 800 cleared reefer containers containing perishables like food, medicines and other essentials are still inside Manila International Container Terminal, while more than 2,000 dry containers already cleared and ready for delivery remain inside the terminal. These numbers as of press time have further increased, PPA noted.

Christian Gonzalez, executive vice president of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), operator of the MICT, in a March 27 letter to consignees, shippers, brokers/processors, said MICT “has come to a point where it is becoming impossible to operate in an efficient manner,” said in a March 27 letter to consignees, shippers, customs brokers, and processors, a copy of which was sent by PPA to media.

He added, “Containers are simply not being removed from the terminal. We understand that it is unfeasible for some, and many businesses have been temporarily shut down, but without the full support of everyone that is able to open, we will come to a point when efficient operations will no longer be possible.”

He said there were 22,043 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of imports in the terminal on March 14 but by March 27, this has increased to 36,793 TEUs.

To address the problem, PPA in Memorandum Circular No. 11-2020 has temporarily authorized Manila North Harbor to be the designated port for the transfer of overstaying foreign containers that have been cleared for delivery/withdrawal, and subject to approval of BOC for import containers.

On March 30, BOC said it is processing the transfer of unclaimed containers from MICT to the container depot of Pacific Roadlink Container, Inc. (PRLI) and Manila North Harbor to unclog the congested international terminal. A total of 2,000 overstaying containers will be transferred to the PRLI depot, while a similar number will be transferred to Manila North Harbor.

READ: BOC transferring 4,000 overstaying boxes from congested MICT

The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) in a memorandum on March 30 noted that the “stringent quarantine measure by the enforcement agencies somehow limits our movements and we have not received till now the IATF ID.”

CCBI is referring to the ID that should be issued by DTI to logistics service providers in order to allow them to travel and pass checkpoints during the enhanced community quarantine period.

Many cargo transport service providers have found it difficult, especially in the first days of the enhanced community quarantine, to operate as their trucks are being stopped at checkpoints despite an IATF order to ensure unhampered cargo movement. Employees of cargo transport service providers and customs brokers have also been unable to report for work due to travel restrictions and the suspension of operation of public transportation.

CCBI said another limiting factor is the closure of BOC’s building in MICT after an employee tested positive for coronavirus disease, disrupting BOC operations, particularly assessment.

BOC assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla on March 30 said they are doing their best to normalize operations within the middle of this week with the help of BOC officers at Port of Manila. BOC, meanwhile, is encouraging stakeholders to do their transactions online. – Roumina Pablo

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five + sixteen =