Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Exclusives, Ports/Terminals » PH truckers, brokers threaten Nov. 19 ‘day of rest’

Several trucking and customs brokers’ organizations are planning a trucking holiday starting November 19 to force the Philippine government to address difficulties in returning empty containers and intervene in the implementation of the 15-year-old age limit for trucks.

In an advisory, trucking organizations Aduana Business Club, Inc. (ABCI), Haulers and Truckers Association in the Waterfront, Inc. (HATAW), Inland Haulers and Truckers Association (INHTA), the Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines (PCBAPI) and the Subic Truck Importers Association said they will hold a “Customs Brokers, Port Truckers Day of Rest” from Nov 19-24.

Bigger trucking organizations such as the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines and the Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations will not join the trucking holiday.

The day of rest starts November 19 and will continue until “President Rodrigo Duterte [intervenes with] the empty containers congestion,” which ABCI, HATAW, INHTA and PCBAPI claim is caused by “irresponsible international shipping lines that lack CY-depot to accept their [own] property at our expense.” Containers are owned by shipping lines.

DOTR: No CPCs for old imported trucks, buses

The group also seeks intervention in the phase-out of 15-year-old trucks under the government’s modernization program. Department of Transportation (DOTr) Department Order (DO) No. 2017-09, signed in 2017, reinforces DO 2002-030 on the mandatory age limit for buses-for-hire and trucks-for-hire (TFH) covered by a certificate of public convenience (CPC).

In a memo dated September 14, DOTr said that as stated in Section C of DO 2017-09, imported used buses and trucks may be allowed registration by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), but will not be registered as public utility vehicle and thus not granted a CPC.

It added that all issuances of LTO and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board related to imported used bus and trucks covering the period under DO 2017-09 will be considered invalid; the franchise of such buses and trucks are therefore subject to franchise revocation. The order covers the ban on using rebuilt units which are being registered as current year models.

Phasing out of older trucks has long been opposed by truckers, who insist that roadworthiness, not age, should be the basis for the grant of a franchise. According to truckers, the 15-year-old age limit will affect majority of the country’s current total truck fleet, since around 70% of the total is already more than 15 years of age.

The difficulty in returning empty containers is another longstanding issue for stakeholders, highlighted more this year due to several factors. The groups last March threatened to stop deliveries for four international shipping lines to highlight truckers’ protest over the continued delays in returning empty containers.

The plan did not push through after several discussions were held between the groups, the Association of International Shipping Lines, and the Bureau of Customs.

Still, the issue with returning empty containers persists. This is especially since the capacity of container depots within Metro Manila where empty containers may be returned has dwindled to 13,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) from the previous 21,000 TEUs, according to Container Depot Alliance of the Philippines (CDAP) president Roger Lalu.

In an inter-agency meeting on October 25, Lalu said the dwell time of empty containers has doubled to 30 days from 15 days. This has resulted in Metro Manila yards’ utilization averaging 115%.

The country’s trade imbalance, with only one export container for every three import containers, contributes to the growing number of empty containers being left in the country and needing to be repositioned outside the country.

Lalu said some CDAP members are already setting up container yards outside Metro Manila, particularly in Bulacan. He noted that a yard with a capacity of 3,500 TEUs is already operational, while another with a 4,000-TEU capacity will open this month. He added that CDAP is looking at other areas in Bulacan to put up a container yard, but the supposed refusal by local government units to give them permits is an issue. – Roumina Pablo

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