MOU between BOC CDO and Northern Mindanao stakeholders eyed for faster cargo movement

Mindanao Container Terminal | Phptp
Mindanao Container Terminal | Photo from International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is pushing for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with stakeholders in Northern Mindanao that will promote streamlining of customs procedures in the ports under the collection district.

In a phone interview with PortCalls, BOC-CDO district collector John Simon said the target is for the MOU to be signed by port stakeholders in November with immediate effect.

The MOU will set the terms and understanding between BOC, port operator Mindanao International Container Terminal Services, Inc.; Golden Sun Cargo Examination Services Corp.; Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc.; Customs Brokers Representatives Association; various shipping lines; and PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority (PIA), said BOC-CDO in a statement.

The proposed MOU aims to clearly set forth that movements of cargo should be facilitated, especially the transfer of containers for examination from the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) yard to the customs clearance area/designated examination area (CCA-DEA), which is operated by Golden Sun Cargo.

It will outline responsibilities of each signing party “to guarantee smooth operation and at the same time to safeguard the interest of both the port operator and the government,” BOC-CDO said.

Since examination of containers for both intrusive and non-intrusive examination will only be conducted within the CCA-DEA, the operations of the CCA-DEA will be for 24 hours, except for the cashier which will operate from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“The memorandum of understanding will help us address problems like port congestion. If there are also delays on documents we already know what to do and who to talk to if problem arises,” Simon said.

The drafting of an MOU is also in line with Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, which aims to improve Philippines competitiveness and doing business in the country.

Simon was also asked if the MOU would address stakeholders’ years-long request to have the CCA-DEA moved inside the MCT premises to avoid incurring additional charges in the transfer of cargo from the terminal to the CCA-DEA.

He said this will be tackled during the drafting of the MOU, but noted that the port cannot do away with a CCA-DEA as it is a “necessary inconvenience.”

READ: Northern Mindanao port users call for relocation of CDO cargo inspection area

RELATED: BOC set to act on request to relocate customs clearance area within Mindanao Container Terminal

MCT, which is situated inside the Phividec Industrial Estate operated by PIA, is the lone Philippine port with the CCA-DEA located outside the terminal as opposed to being inside. – Roumina Pablo