The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has clarified operational details on the imposition of new storage rates on Customs-cleared but overstaying import cargoes at the ports of Manila, Batangas, and Subic.
Under PPA Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 13-2014 dated Oct 1, 2014, foreign cargo cleared through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) On-Line Release System (OLRS) but still at the ports after the lapse of the 10-day free storage allowance will be subject to the new rates under PPA MC No. 12-2014.
Levying higher storage rates is one of the government measures to decongest Manila ports and prevent cargo owners from using them as warehouses.
Based on PPA MC No. 13-2014, foreign inbound cargoes get five days of free storage after the day the last cargo is discharged from the vessel, as prescribed under PPA MC No. 10-2013. After this period, rates under MC No. 10-2013 apply until MC No. 12-2014 provisions become applicable.
The memo cited certain conditions that must be present before cargoes are subject to the new storage rates under MC 12-2014. These are that the vessel carrying the inbound foreign containers actually berthed and discharged at the port; containers were given free storage for five days under MC 10-2013; and cargo stayed at the port despite BOC’s issuance of clearance and gate passes for its withdrawal after payment of duties and taxes.
The memo also clarified that the word “clearance” specifically refers to its issuance through BOC’s OLRS, which processes the release instruction message and facilitates release of goods from the transit facility, under Customs Memorandum Order No. 43-2010.
After cargo is cleared through OLRS, importers are given a further 10-day allowance to pull out their containers, and rates applicable during this period are those prescribed by MC No. 10-2013.
If the same containers are still not removed after the 10-day allowance, they will be slapped with the new rates under MC No. 12-2014.
All overstaying inbound foreign containers cleared through OLRS prior to the October 2 effectivity of MC No. 12-2014 will still have 10 days from effectivity date before the new storage rates apply, the PPA memo noted.
As for Subic port, which is under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, MC No. 12-2014 applies to containers diverted to the Northern Luzon hub under conditions specified by Executive Order (EO) No. 172.
EO No. 172 proclaimed Subic and Batangas ports as extensions of the Port of Manila but only during situations of port congestion and emergency. – Roumina Pablo