International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has praised the concrete steps taken by the Philippine government to clear Manila ports of overstaying cargo.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Department of Transportation (DoTr), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have been working to ensure the swift disposition of overstaying cargo.
Christian R. Gonzales, ICTSI’s global corporate head, said: “We thank the Philippine government for taking a hard stand in fast-tracking the disposal and reduction of overstaying and empty containers at Manila ports.
“The results have been immediate and goes to show what determination and focus of purpose can do.”
Yard utilisation at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) rapidly decreased by about 20% from 90% in January 2019 to 70% at the start of April – roughly a month after the PPA issued an ultimatum for overstaying containers.
Despite MICT having handled a record monthly volume in March, the terminal was able to accept almost double the number of empty containers it was receiving.
This freed up trucks and, in turn, resulted in more import pull outs which has also enabled shipping lines to be able to bridge the gap in achieving their weekly empty container evacuation targets.
Import dwell time has been reduced from 11 days in January to 6.6 days at the start of April and has resulted in zero ship queues compared to December’s peak season.
ICTSI continues to transfer more overstaying laden containers to Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal (LGICT) in Calamba.
Gonzalez added: “We are optimistic that most have understood the need for containers to move regularly and in a timely fashion, but the proof will come after Easter which historically has seen overstaying boxes surge.”
On March 15 2019, the government led various port stakeholders in the signing of a Manifesto of Support for the efficient utilisation of Manila ports, encouraging the immediate retrieval of overstaying and empty cargo to designated ports and off-dock depots.
Among those who signed the manifesto are ICTSI, Asian Terminals Inc. and international shipping lines.
Additionally, a joint administrative order will be issued by the trade department, the BOC and PPA to address concerns on unreturned empties and overstaying imports will be issued in the near future.
Before the manifesto was signed, ICTSI along with other actors within the supply chain chose to undertake immediate measures in alleviating problems connected with returning empty containers.
The Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organisations and Container Depot Alliance of the Philippines worked with ICTSI to achieve this, including identifying depot areas that could be leased for empty storage.
Starting April 1, ICTSI has covered the cost of the lease and the movement of more than 5,000 overstaying containers to bonded warehouses outside of the terminal.
It has also covered the use of the San Miguel Yamamura property near MICT to store and reposition empty containers.
The use of LGICT, a bonded facility in Calamba, and the Cavite Gateway Terminal in Tanza is likewise encouraged to improve truck movement in the metro.