Marcos orders 24/7 operations at DA, BOC for uninterrupted shipment processing

Marcos orders 24/7 operations at DA, BOC for uninterrupted shipment processing
  • President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. ordered 24/7 operations at the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs to ensure uninterrupted processing of shipments nationwide
  • BOC said it supports the measure but noted that achieving seamless 24/7 operations require “collaborative support from” and “synchronization of operations among stakeholders in the supply chain”

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. ordered 24/7 operations at the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to ensure uninterrupted processing of shipment nationwide.

The BOC said it supports the directive, noting it recognizes “the imperative need for round-the-clock operations to accommodate the increasing influx of shipments into the ports” but that this “requires collaborative support from all stakeholders in the supply chain.” These stakeholders include shipping lines, arrastre operators, terminal operators, warehouse facilities, financial institutions, and the trucking industry.

“Stakeholders play a vital role in ensuring efficient cargo release, encompassing several stages: pre-customs, customs proper, and post-customs processing stages, each crucial for efficient trade facilitation,” BOC explained.

In order to operationalize the 24/7 operations, BOC said: “The synchronization of operations among these stakeholders is essential to minimize delays and ensure the swift processing and release of cargoes, contributing to the overall efficiency of the supply chain. In line with this, the BOC shall endeavor to coordinate with these stakeholders so that appropriate mechanisms are established for the effective implementation of the President’s directive. With the commitment of all parties involved, the bureau is confident in achieving uninterrupted processing of imports as envisioned by the President.”

The agency said it has also initiated various digitalization projects to further enhance trade facilitation and streamline customs processes, secure trade, and improve overall efficiency.

READ: BOC pursues multiple digital projects

During the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC)–Infrastructure Sector Group meeting on June 5, Marcos directed both the BOC and the DA to implement 24/7 operations, highlighting the importance of continuing shipment process to accommodate the arrival of more ships into the country, saying: “In this business, there’s no afterhours. It can – it’s ready 24/7. So, let’s not put an extra team, let’s just keep it running. Whatever you have there in the day, let the same number of people that you have all 24 hours,” Marcos said.

“So, three eight-hour shifts,” he added.

The PSAC, which recommended the shifting schedule to ensure 24/7 operations across all government services relating to logistics and supply chains, said this arrangement will ensure continuous inspection, clearance, and payment process, significantly reducing costs and time, particularly on the x-ray scanning operations of the BOC and DA’s office tasked to inspect reefer vans.

PSAC members who attended the meeting included Enrique Razon, Jr., International Container Terminal Services, Inc CEO; Manuel Pangilinan, First Pacific chairman; Eric Ramon Recto, Alphaland Corp chairman and CEO; Joanne de Asis, Globe Capital Partners LLC chairperson; Ramoncito Fernandez, Maynilad Water Services president and CEO; Rogelio Singson, Metro Pacific Water and Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation president and CEO; Christian Gonzalez, ICTSI Group Global Corporate Head; and Danel Aboitiz, Aboitiz Power president and CEO.

PSAC lead convenor and Aboitiz Group CEO Sabin Aboitiz in a statement said Marcos’ directives “mark a significant step towards modernizing our infrastructure and logistics sectors.”

“By ensuring 24/7 port operations and integrating water-related projects, we are poised to see substantial improvements in efficiency and economic growth. The commitment to resolving road blockages and developing a comprehensive supply chain roadmap will further streamline our processes and reduce costs.”

The PSAC Infrastructure Logistics Subsector also pushed the need for a comprehensive supply chain roadmap to cut costs and address various issues, including erratic pricing, local policies, and toll fees.

PSAC said Marcos supported the proposal, emphasizing the importance of policy reforms to enhance competitiveness.

Local Government Secretary Abalos Benjamin Abalos, Jr has reported ongoing discussions with trucking companies to enforce the Executive Order banning local government units from collecting toll fees, urging cooperation to ensure compliance.

The directive also comes amid numerous issues faced by the shipping and logistics industry, in particular the ongoing Red Sea crisis. Since late last year, Houthi militant rebels have attacked commercial vessels plying the Red Sea with the goal of ending Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip triggered by the October 7 attack in southern Israel of Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The attacks have forced various shipping companies to suspend ship traffic through the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, a major shipping route. Ships have diverted some of their vessels to a longer journey through Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

The diversion of vessels around the Cape of Good Hope has disrupted vessel arrival schedules at major ports around the world with off-schedule arrivals and has caused a “vessels bunching” effect.

Singapore port—the second busiest port in the world in terms of tonnage and the world’s busiest transshipment hub—has seen a significant increase in vessel arrivals since the beginning of 2024.

Severe congestion at the port is leading to berthing delays for ships lasting as long as seven days.