Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » More carriers join vessel sharing pact to move empties out of Manila port

More international shipping lines have agreed to share vessel resources in loading out more empty containers from Manila South Harbor.

Port operator Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI), in a text message to PortCalls, said COSCO, SITC, and Sealand joined last May the empty loadout shipping agreement (ELSA), an initiative started last February in response to the problem of overstaying empty containers and high utilization at Manila ports.

The three shipping lines join CMA CGM, T.S. Lines, Evergreen Line, Yang Ming Marine, Wan Hai Lines, and Hyundai Merchant Marine which last February agreed to share vessel resources and pull out over 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from South Harbor each week.

Under ELSA, for every cargo discharged, vessels docked at the harbor will load out empty containers already available at the port regardless of which participating shipping line owns the containers.

Prior to ELSA, shipping lines only loaded their own empty containers onto their vessel, resulting in higher inventory of empties inside ports’ container yards.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), in a separate statement, said ELSA has helped bring down Manila South Harbor’s utilization to “a better-than-ideal level.”

The measure also complemented PPA’s policy against overstaying empty containers that was introduced last March, the port authority said.

On March 15, PPA, Bureau of Customs, Association of International Shipping Lines, ATI, and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. signed a Manifesto of Support for Government’s Efforts to Effectuate Efficient Utilization of Philippine Ports. Under the manifesto, Customs-cleared containers at Manila international terminals will no longer be allowed to overstay and will be transferred to outside depots.

On April 5, PPA issued Administrative Order No. 02-2019 listing the guidelines on the transfer of overstaying imported cargoes from Manila South Harbor and Manila International Container Terminal to designated ports outside in a bid to promote optimal terminal efficiency and address high import dwell time.

PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago said that within two weeks of implementing PPA’s new policy in March, South Harbor was already loading out at least 10,000 TEUs.

“But with ELSA, the container loadout at the port per week has reached 14,000 TEUs, the highest figure posted in the 60-day implementation span of the agreement,” Santiago pointed out.

He added that “the consistent loadout of empty and overstaying containers from the ports the past two months has resulted in a yard utilization of about 54% as of end-May compared to the 75% yard utilization when the Manifesto was signed in mid-March.” – Roumina Pablo

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