THE operators of South Harbor and the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) should temporarily cap dwell time for laden containers. Shipping lines should also as a rule ship out their empty containers instead of storing them at the ports.
These are some of the suggestions of the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) to help lick congestion at the South Harbor and MICT.
The association is also urging volume importers to immediately withdraw their empty containers, some of which have been overstaying since August. Those with such boxes reportedly include San Miguel Corp, Coca-Cola, Universal Robina Corp.
PortCalls sources claim empties occupy about 25% of the South Harbor and MICT yards. Prior to the congestion, the two yards were already 75% saturated.
The dwell time for containers at the ports has also reportedly doubled from the usual four days to up to eight days.
PISFA president Nelson Mendoza told PortCalls terminal operators can drastically improve traffic at the ports if only they were willing to let go of “sweeteners” they entered into with client shipping lines and shippers.
Another PortCalls source who requested anonymity said the congestion may have started when the terminal operators offered empty container storage fees cheaper than fees charged by outside container yards.
“The two ports right now are not operating efficiently due to congestion, which can be attributed also to them,” Mendoza said. “Importers are likewise to be blame as their cargoes are just sitting at the two ports for whatever reason.”
He added, “Shippers, shipping lines and terminal operators should work out something to address this problem before the international market notices and this again affects our competitiveness in the international supply chain.”
To ease the congestion, port operators Asian Terminals, Inc and International Container Terminal Services, Inc have been trucking a portion of empty containers to their respective Batangas and Subic terminals. Still, deposit and withdrawal of boxes at the South Harbor and MICT can take up to three days for small independent truck operators.