Manila port users make proposals to beat congestion

An alliance of various stakeholders at the Port of Manila has come up with a list of proposals to the government to help reduce the congestion that has been plaguing the port since a truck ban came into effect in February, local media reported.

The extensive list of immediate and long-term proposals include: Making current 24/7 truck routes permanent and establishing consultation mechanisms for future regulations; designating truck lanes to eastern Metro Manila, for cargo going to the Marikina and Antipolo areas; imposing a one-year moratorium on the required franchising of cargo trucks due to the current short supply; revising customs procedures for cargo alerts and seizures which cause container delays and abandonment; rationalising fees imposed by shipping lines, which should include all charges with cargo arrival notices; accelerating the removal of empty or abandoned containers from the ports; expediting a decision on a proposed NLEX-SLEX elevated expressway with connections to the port area; weekend hours for container x-ray, shipping lines representatives, and warehouse operations, to encourage more weekend cargo withdrawals.

Other more policy-level proposals included a review of Customs regulations to make disposal of abandoned cargo easier, and a revision of surcharges for allegedly undervalued shipments, shortening truck ban hours to 6-9am and 5-9pm, and setting up a truck-holding area for trucks to park during truck-ban hours.

To encourage the use of other ports proposals included incentivising the establishment and upgrading of facilities at Batangas and Subic, including warehouses and truck-holding areas, working with private-sector stakeholders to develop an appointment-based container pick up system in line with a Vehicle Booking System, developing a container depot outside the Port of Manila, similar to ports in Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro, greater emphasis on using Batangas and Subic Ports as alternative gateways for handling volumes bound for areas outside Metro Manila, finishing the 50-hectare reclamation project in Batangas, revisiting the Philippine Ports Authority charter to give it greater say in supervising port operations, including managing and harmonizing government actions and implementation of laws, rules, and regulations regarding port and foreign shipping services. creating a government agency to oversee, monitor, and regulate shipping lines, as well as requiring shipping lines to have their own container yards outside the ports for empty containers.

These ports are set to meet the Cabinet Cluster on Ports under Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras later this week.


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