Port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has added new features on the website of its flagship Manila International Container Terminal’s (MICT), allowing stakeholders to view slot usage in the Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS).
In the latest issue of ICTSI in-house publication PortFolio, ICTSI said two new features were added on its website mictweb.com “to make it easier for port users to book slots on TABS.”
TABS is a government-endorsed online platform—piloted in October 2015 and fully implemented on March 16 this year—that manages truck movements in and out of MICT and Manila South Harbor.
The first feature, called Slot Usage, “allows clients to monitor the availability of slots for the day and up to the next two days,” said the operator. The utilization of each time zone, which is measured every hour, is represented in percentages. Slots are also divided into “pick-ups” (Imports) and “drop offs” (Exports).
ICTSI noted on the website, however, that “available quantity in TABS may sometimes appear less because one slot is momentarily blocked off for every user accessing the site.”
The second feature is Booking Demand Classification, which is integrated into the operator’s online container-tracking system, Track and Trace. “This makes it easier for users to determine if their bookings fall on free, rebate, medium, or high-demand zones,” it said.
In a meeting with a group of stakeholders last April, ICTSI broached a plan to beef up its website that would allow port stakeholders to check slots in use under TABS, a move intended to promote transparency amid fears of slot abuse and manipulation.
The visibility provided by the website was seen to help dispel doubts of stakeholders on whether slots were really no longer available when users fail to book one, Samson Gabisan told PortCalls after his group’s meeting with ICTSI on April 14. Gabisan is the coordinator of the group of customs brokers and truckers that earlier submitted suggestions to ICTSI on how to improve TABS implementation.
The visibility will also take the pressure off customs brokers because they will now have proof to back up their claim to importer-clients that no slots were open in the zone they attempted to book, Gabisan added.
Meanwhile, the reduction in rates for the high demand zone—from 1,000 points to 500 points—has been extended until August 31, 2016. Last May 2, MICT said it reduced the rates by half for a limited time in an attempt to increase usage of slots in this area.
In PortFolio, ICTSI senior vice president and regional head of Asia-Pacific and MICT Christian Gonzalez said TABS has reduced truck queues at MICT from an average of six to 12 hours to just one hour or an hour and a half. He noted that TABS compliance rates have improved to 96% from 72% previously.
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