PORT congestion is not only costly for shipping lines but may also affect the Philippines' image overseas.
“Aside from additional cost for shipping lines in the short term, the long-term effect of congestion would be on the Philippines' competitiveness against neighboring countries,” Sylvia Ding, Maersk Line country manager for the Philippines told PortCalls.
“This will possibly have a negative impact on the country's image especially on the ease of doing business, which would hamper the level of investments,” she said.
“Shipping lines, in particular, may also explore less congested ports which can provide them with better and more consistent service.”
Congestion at the South Harbor and MICT has somewhat eased in the last two weeks after international carriers over the same period shipped out of the Philippines about 3,000 empty containers.
Vessel turnaround time, according to some lines, is now more manageable at 24 to 36 hours compared to three to five days at the height of the congestion in early December. As a result, losses of shipping lines are also down dramatically. It is estimated that a vessel with a capacity of 800-twenty-equivalent units unable to berth for a day loses about $15,000.
During the congestion, Maersk said it proactively worked and coordinated with its customers for faster equipment release and empty pickup. In addition, the company opened its offices on Saturdays to enable consignees to process their documents.