Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Exclusives, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Should transfer of overstaying containers now stop? BOC looks into issue

Screengrab from BOC’s online live update on April 22 hosted by Assistant Commissioner Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla

The Bureau of Customs, in coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority, is in discussion with Manila terminal operators on whether the program of transferring overstaying containers may now be discontinued with congestion no longer a problem at the ports.

This was one of the points tackled at the April 22 Bureau of Customs Live Update hosted by assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla.

The transfer of overstaying containers is a key provision in Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 20-01, which provides processes for expedited release of refrigerated containers and dry cargoes from Manila ports during the enhanced community quarantine.

The JAO was issued following an almost 100% yard utilization level at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) in late March, prompting port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc to call on importers/consignees to withdraw their overstaying containers.

Under the JAO, overstaying containers under a set of timelines would be transferred to other facilities in the interest of declogging ports. The cost of the transfer will be borne by the importer/consignee.

Maronilla said BOC is looking at whether transfer of containers should stop since port congestion no longer exists.

As of April 21, he said, yard utilization at MICT is down to 65.50% from 68.22% on April 19, but up to 83% from 77% on April 19 at the Manila South Harbor.

Any decision on continuing or ending the container transfer program can only be made “after consultation with our terminal operators as to what we expect the yard utilization will be once these containers start coming in again and ano ba yung rate ng pagre-release (their rate of release),” he added.

Many stakeholders have complained of high container transfer fee charged by terminal operators.

Since the transfer fee is not a levy imposed by the BOC, Maronilla said the bureau can only coordinate complaints with the PPA.

He said BOC understands the burden of having to shoulder extra cost with the container transfer fee. A resolution will be issued soon, he added.

READ: MICT operations back to normal; Manila South Harbor, Batangas terminals running at “optimum levels”

As of April 21, a total of 3,898 containers had been transferred from the MICT to other facilities: 1,046 containers were transferred to the depot of Pacific Roadlink Logistics, Inc., 2,726 containers to the domestic terminal at Manila North Harbor, and 124 containers to Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal.

Abandonment procedures for overstaying containers

To implement JAO No. 20-01, BOC recently issued Customs Memorandum Order 10-2020, providing procedures for abandonment of overstaying containers during the ECQ.

READ: BOC issues abandonment procedures during ECQ

During the BOC Live Update, Maronilla reminded stakeholders of timelines under CMO 10-2020, which states that imported goods are considered abandoned when:

  • refrigerated containers remain unclaimed after three days from the seven-day withdrawal period under JAO 20-01
  • chilled cargoes remain unclaimed after three days from the five-day withdrawal period under JAO 20-01
  • cargoes beyond 30 days from date of discharge are not withdrawn after five days from issuance of JAO 20-01. – Roumina Pablo

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