Philippine cabinet secretary Rene Almendras said yesterday (13 April) that there was no more congestion at the Port of Manila.
“Congestion is completely over at Manila International Container Ports, despite higher than normal volumes handled during the first quarter of this year,” he said in a statement.
He pointed out that a number of shipping lines have removed their congestion surcharges, which were put in place due to congestion that took place when the City of Manila introduced a day-time truck ban from February to September 2014. These include Maersk, Hapag Lloyd and CMA CGM.
Other shipping lines, Almendras said, are seeking approval from their regional headquarters to drop the surcharges within the month.
However, the chair of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) was more hesitant.
Sergio Ortiz-Luiz said that, for the situation to be called normal, all congestion surcharges should be dropped and trucking and shipping rates should go back to pre-congestion levels, or even lower, given the price of fuel has fallen since.
In September 2014, the operations chief of International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI), the port’s main operator, Christian Gonzalez said that the congestion would take six months to clear.
President Benigno Aquino has signed an executive order, declaring that the Subic and Batangas ports be used as extensions of Manila, to alleviate the port’s problems.
The government has also raised fines on those in charge of containers which overstay at the port.