Philippine Ports Authority Administrative Order 04-2021 will require registration and monitoring of all foreign containers entering and leaving PPA ports
All containers registered in the system must secure a container insurance policy
The container insurance will be in lieu of the container deposit and container maintenance fees required by international shipping lines
Tracking devices will be provided and maintained by PPA
A new Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) order will require registration and monitoring of all foreign containers entering and leaving ports under PPA jurisdiction.
PPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 04-2021, which takes effect on October 19, also mandates containers covered by the policy to secure a container insurance. The insurance will take the place of container deposit and container maintenance fees required by international shipping lines.
The container insurance is meant to “protect local importers from additional transaction costs,” according to the order. The insurance cover must be secured from companies authorized by the Insurance Commission and accredited by PPA.
Stakeholders have long complained of container deposits charged by international carriers and the time it takes before deposits are returned.
Under AO 04-2021, PPA will prescribe and adopt a system which provides a facility that will record in real-time all containers passing in and out of the port terminals – tracking their location, status, and movements from the time of discharge from the vessel to the time the container is loaded for export. All inbound containers should be enrolled under the system to be adopted by PPA.
PPA last June conducted a virtual public hearing on a proposed container tracking and monitoring system. PPA assistant general manager for finance and administration Elmer Nonnatus Cadano at the hearing said the proposal aims to improve trade facilitation and address concerns with logistics efficiency and costs, including the long-standing issue of unreturned container deposits.
Under AO 04-2021, PPA will acquire the technology to implement the registration and monitoring system and will maintain and manage tracking devices for the system.
PPA will ensure space within the port terminal for installation and decoupling of container tracking device as well as stacking prior to loading.
Shipping lines and/or shipping agents will provide the required information to PPA through terminal operators/cargo-handling operators.
PPA will also prescribe the implementing operational guidelines for container registration and monitoring. AO 04-2021 noted there will be consultation with affected sectors prior to implementation of the operational guidelines.
Stakeholders earlier voiced concerns over the proposed system, saying it might just duplicate monitoring systems already in place for containers, including the Bureau of Customs’ Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargoes system.
AO 04-2021 addressed this issue and said the new system will interface with existing container monitoring and tracking systems of other concerned government agencies as well as port terminal operators.
The Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) last month submitted a letter to PPA proposing to develop, manage and implement a platform that will constitute the port authority’s proposed container registry and monitoring system.
AISL’s proposal expands the association’s GoFast Container Monitoring System, a web-based platform providing digital connectivity among foreign shipping lines, importers and their authorized customs brokers, terminal operators, off-dock container freight stations, and off-dock depots.
AISL said its proposed platform facilitates the realization of PPA’s proposed container monitoring system at the same time “eliminate(s) the need for expensive tagging devices and container tracking infrastructure and imposing an entirely container monitoring system that is not integrated with existing port user systems.”
AISL president Patrick Ronas also earlier said they are against the idea of a container insurance.
He explained that the reason why demurrage and detention charges are set at such high levels is to encourage importers/consignees to promptly pick up their loaded containers at the port and to promptly return the empty containers to the carriers.
He added: “On the other hand, if the importers/consignees pay only a small premium, this could send a wrong signal to importers/consignees which will result to a slowdown in the movement of loaded and empty containers. The slow movement of containers could impact on the efficiency of port operations because of a potential congestion that can be created, and at the same time, deprive the carrier to supply the needed containers to the shipper/exporter, be it in the country or elsewhere.”
On container deposits, Ronas noted that some carriers do not require this from their clients and that its imposition is a business decision of the carrier. – Roumina Pablo