Home » 3PL/4PL, Ports/Terminals » DOTr, PPA: trucking holiday not effective, only 8% of trucks in Manila ports joined

Department of Transportation OIC Undersecretary for Maritime Fernando Juan Perez (left) and Philippine Ports Authority general manager Atty Jay Daniel Santiago at a Nov 19 press conference.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said the first day of the trucking holiday on Nov 19 staged by some trucking and customs brokers’ groups had little impact on operations at Manila ports.

Trucking organizations Aduana Business Club, Inc., Haulers and Truckers Association in the Watersouth, Inc., and Inland Haulers and Truckers Association (INHTA), and the Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines had earlier announced a “Customs Brokers, Port Truckers Day of Rest” from November 19 to 24. The trucking holiday, they said, is meant to force the Philippine government to address issues with empty container returns as well as intervene in the implementation of the 15-year-old age limit for trucks-for-hire.

According to INHTA president Teodorico Gervacio on November 19, the protest will continue on its second day (Nov 20), though only until Anda Circle as Bonifacio Drive and Roxas Boulevard are closed to traffic due to the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

PPA general manager Atty Jay Daniel Santiago in a press conference on Nov 19 said the caravan on November 19—which PPA Port Police estimated included around 200 protesters, 100 private vehicles and motorcycles, and 40 cargo trucks—disrupted traffic only for a few hours in some areas around the port.

DOTr officer-in-charge Undersecretary for Maritime Fernando Juan Perez, during the same press briefing, said disruptions were avoided as teams from the Inter-agency Council for Traffic joined the PPA Port Police in controlling the situation.

Perez also noted truck transactions during Mondays are traditionally minimal, so there was not much to disrupt anyway.

He added the groups comprised only 8% of the total trucks servicing the port of Manila, and that not all truck drivers and loaders actually joined the rally. Truckers are paid per trip and “wala silang kakainin (they won’t eat)” if they stop working.

Earlier, trucking organizations Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines and Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations as well as the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc had issued statements they would not join the trucking holiday.

On the issue of the 15-year-old age limit of trucks-for-hire, Perez said DOTr had earlier clarified that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board already agreed with truckers—including operating units older than 15 years—that they may continue to use their current franchises during the transition period until government can implement its Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS). Once the MVIS is implemented, new franchises would be granted for trucks that pass the roadworthiness test, regardless of the truck’s age. Perez noted that equipment for MVIS is already being procured.

Santiago also stressed that despite the issue with empty container returns, operations at Manila’s international terminals are still far from the 2014 congestion levels, and yard utilization is currently 70% to 73% which, while high, is “still optimal.”

Santiago noted government can only provide short-term solutions to the issue of empty container returns. He pointed out that the long-term solution is for the country’s trade imbalance to be addressed, and for truckers, freight forwarders, and shipping lines to work together to resolve the management of empty containers and other issues between their groups. – Roumina Pablo

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