PPA to release order on container monitoring system this month

Image by Jarosław Bialik from Pixabay
  • The Philippine Ports Authority is looking to issue this month guidelines for the proposed container registry and monitoring system
  • The CRMS will make a record of all containers passing through port terminals under PPA’s jurisdiction
  • It will capture detailed information to provide real-time monitoring of containers

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is eyeing the issuance this month of an administrative order (AO) providing guidelines for the proposed container registry and monitoring system (CRMS).

The AO is incorporating recommendations of the PPA Board, which has already approved the policy, PPA Port Operations and Service Department (POSD) manager Atty. Hiyasmin Delos Santos told PortCalls in a text message.

The AO will undergo public consultation.

READ: PPA drafts container registry, monitoring system rules

The proposed CRMS will make a record of all containers passing in and out of port terminals under PPA jurisdiction to provide real-time monitoring on the location, status, and movement of containers.

Last May 26, PPA issued Special Order No. 216-2021 creating an electronic container registry and monitoring committee, which on May 28 proposed guidelines for the electronic tagging of imported containers.

On June 15, PPA conducted a virtual public hearing on the proposal, which was then presented as a container tagging and tracking system.

READ: PPA proposes import container monitoring system

PPA assistant general manager for finance and administration Elmer Nonnatus Cadano, during the June public hearing, said the proposed system aims to improve trade facilitation and address concerns with logistics efficiency and costs, such as the long-standing issue of unreturned container deposits.

Cadano said the idea of a monitoring system came up during constant discussions between PPA and the Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the private sector regarding logistics concerns and the role of ports in the country’s security.

Shippers’ complaints noted

Delos Santos, during the same public hearing, said crafting of the proposed system’s guidelines would consider complaints that shippers brought before the Shippers’ Protection Office (SPO).

SPO, the secretariat of which is PPA’s POSD, was created last year as a temporary measure to protect the public during a state of national calamity “from the impact and effects of exorbitant and unreasonable shipping fees resulting in increased prices for domestic consumers.”

Delos Santos said complaints received by the SPO had been mostly about container yard charges, return of empty containers, unreturned container deposit, demurrage and detention charges, and other alleged unreasonable charges imposed by shipping lines.

She noted the proposed system seeks to address such complaints, particularly on unreturned container deposits, some of which amount to more than P2 million.

The CRMS aims to streamline procedures related to the entry, scheduling, loading, unloading, release and movement of all foreign-owned containers entering and leaving ports under PPA jurisdiction.

It seeks to “establish an explicit and non-repudiable record of accountabilities to enable PPA to monitor the movement of foreign-owned shipping containers from the time of entry, discharge, return, storage, and re-export.”

Moreover, it aims “to promote competitiveness and provide cost saving mechanisms that mutually benefit importers and foreign carriers by offering container insurance from authorized insurance providers as an available option in addition to the current container deposit and container maintenance fees.”

Delos Santos said the intention is to require an insurance fee in lieu of the container deposit.

While there is no fixed fee yet, the insurance fee will be lower than the container deposit stakeholders provide to the shipping lines, she noted.

The CRMS guidelines considered Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 08-2019, which provides guidelines on the admission, movement and re-exportation of containers at seaports.

Under CAO 08-2019, containers arriving in the country, whether loaded or empty, should be re-exported within 90 days from the date of discharge of the last package; otherwise, they will be considered as importation requiring payment of duties and taxes.

The CRMS is seen to implement the country’s commitment to the United Nations Office on Drugs Crime Container Control Programs, which orders the institutionalization of a container identification, accountability and protection program.

According to the plan presented during the June 15 public hearing, PPA will develop and procure the technology infrastructure and tracking devices or equipment solutions, as well as other requirements needed to implement the system.

PPA will provide the online facility where the transacting public, customs brokers, and importers can avail of the container insurance coverage from authorized insurance providers.

PPA will be responsible for running and implementing the insurance fee collection system while the service provider will collect the insurance fee.

Protests over CRMS

Stakeholders present during the public hearing voiced concerns over the proposed system.

Port Users Confederation of the Philippines (PUCP) vice president for customs affairs Julita Lopez said the system may just duplicate those already in place for containers.

PPA’s Delos Santos said the CRMS will be interfaced with existing systems, not duplicate them.

She noted CRMS has a different purpose from BOC’s Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargoes system.

Association of International Shipping Lines general manager Atty. Maximino Cruz pointed out the system may run in conflict with the BOC, which monitors movement and dwell time of import containers as mandated by the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and implemented through CAO 08-2019.

Cruz added operations of container yards/depots are also now spelled out under the CMTA. – Roumina Pablo