Congestion at the Port of Manila will take six months to clear, according to the operations chief of the port’s main operator, International Container Services Inc, (ICTSI) Christian Gonzalez.
The congestion was caused by a day-time ‘truck ban’ instituted by local government in February, which aimed to clear congestion on Manila’s roads and reduce air pollution.
As the port handles 80% of the country’s trade, this has hit the country’s growth, by 0.6% in the second quarter, according to Philippine Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo.
In response to pressure from central government, the ‘truck ban’ was lifted by the City of Manila on September 13.
Since then, trade has increased significantly, by around 22%, according to George Chua of the Federation of Philippine Industries.
Gonzalez is not getting carried away however. “Having a few extra truck moves in a couple of days helps after being paralysed for seven to eight months, but”, he warns, “there are still queues everywhere.”
He continued: “It takes a few months for a bad congestion situation to build and it will take half a year to get out of it.”
Whilst the blanket truck ban has been lifted by the City Authority, each of Manila’s 14 districts has a separate local government and they all have different rules when it comes to trucks. Some say trucks can only use one lane, some that they can only use certain roads, while others still want no trucks during the day.
Manila is the world’s 36th biggest port, according to CM’s World Top 120 Container Ports, handling 3.6m teu in 2013.