Home » 3PL/4PL, Ports/Terminals » PH truckers to hold off accepting cargoes from 4 lines due to delays in returning empties

Trucking organizations have bared plans to stop accepting and delivering cargoes from four international shipping lines starting April 1 to highlight delays in returning empty containers, a long-standing issue between truckers and foreign carriers.

In an announcement to customers obtained by PortCalls, trucking organizations Haulers and Truckers Association in the Waterfront, Inc. (HATAW), Aduana Business Club, Inc. (ABCI), and Inland Haulers and Truckers Association (INHTA) said they “have resolved to stop the pull-out of import containers” of TS Lines, CMA CGM/APL, Wan Hai, and Hyundai.

The announcement was also supported by the Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines (PCBAPI).

The groups said the decision was “due to the perennial problem of empty container returns and these shipping lines were found to be the most problematic with the planning of their equipment.”

The groups said they have been in “constant communication with them (shipping lines) but we regret to inform you that until today, there are still some shipping lines that have no clear solution for its empty container return.”

The groups said they have also been communication constantly with the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), the country’s organization of foreign liners, “and the leadership (of AISL) understands our sentiments but some of its erring members are continuously taking advantage of our patience and diplomacy of the transport sector.”

It further noted that three years after the 2014 port congestion when the situation with returning empty containers worsened, “the issue of container return is still not being addressed by these shipping lines.”

Truckers have for years been raising this issue, noting problems such as some shipping lines diverting trucks to other depots due to lack of space in the container yard, or not providing truckers a number to call for problems with returns, among others.

In 2015 AISL introduced a web-based system, GoFast, to address the issue of returning empty containers in Metro Manila. Members of AISL are slowly connecting to the system, with 23 shipping lines hooked up to GoFast in varying phases as of September last year.

“The situation is only getting worse as the economy improves and the volume of cargo grows. It is time that they realize that majority of unnecessary transport cost and delay is due to the lack of planning and irresponsible management of the above mentioned shipping lines, and it is time that they are held accountable for their negligence,” the trucking groups stated.

They said they have considered the effect of the protest on port stakeholders, hence, the announcement prior to the April 1 starting date.

“The stoppage shall continue until the aforementioned shipping lines have come up with a satisfactory solution to the problem,” the groups said.

AISL general manager Atty. Maximino Cruz, in text messages to PortCalls, said it is “assisting the concerned lines to find solutions to the return of empty containers.”

“One solution is to return these empties to depots even outside Metro Manila, provided the shipping line concerned would indicate this already in the CRO/DO (container release order/delivery order),” Cruz said.

He added that “truckers are agreeable to this arrangement so long as the designated CYs (outside Metro Manila) would accept the empties without delays.”

“There are other solutions being explored by AISL and the truckers. This is the subject of ongoing dialogues,” Cruz said.

ABCI in December last year suggested container yards be moved outside Metro Manila where space is bigger, road traffic is less severe, and trucks are less likely to be towed while queuing.

ABCI noted that truckers prefer predictability in returning empty containers, meaning no diversion and queuing encountered, even if they have to go to container yards farther away. – Roumina Pablo

Image courtesy of interphasesolution at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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