Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Solution to slow container deposit returns in PH mulled

The Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) is exploring the possibility of requiring a company check instead of cash deposit from shippers and forwarders as a way to resolve the long-standing issue surrounding the return of container deposits.

AISL general manager Atty. Maximino Cruz announced the plan in a forum arranged by the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) on July 19.

Cruz, in an interview with PortCalls after the event, said that AISL’s priority now is to address this perennial issue, and explore, together with affected stakeholders, the possibility of requiring, instead of cash, a company check deposit, to be returned to the customs broker or importer once the empty container is returned to the shipping line.

AISL said, however, that it will require a cash bond “to answer for whatever, in case of bouncing check.”

He noted a similar move in 2013 when AISL inked a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) that allowed member forwarders to deposit company checks with participating carriers.

The cost of repair for damaged containers and detention charges would be deducted from the check, which should be returned to the forwarder within three to seven days of the return of an empty container. PISFA also posted a cash bond in case the check issued by a member forwarder was not honored by a bank. The two-year agreement, however, was not renewed since only two liners signed up for the pact.

Attendees of the event welcomed the proposal; there was even a suggestion to include the payment of container deposit in AISL’s GoFast system, the group’s online system for empty container returns that now allows electronic payment of equipment insurance to carriers.

READ: AISL activates online payment for equipment insurance under GoFast

According to Cruz, foreign shipping lines started requiring container deposits in 1995 after many instances of importers not returning the empty containers, which are vital parts of a container ship.

He said there were previously no problems with container deposits until their return to importers started slowing down. The problem was not with the container deposit, but with the return of it, Cruz pointed out.

He also clarified that not all foreign liners are “notorious” for not returning container deposits, as there are also shipping lines that are fast in returning them. – Roumina Pablo

 Image courtesy of pixomar at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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