Ports to be cleared of overstaying containers

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Pier 15 South Harbor, Manila. (Claus Transport)

The Department of Transportation (DoTr), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Bureau of Customs (BoC) and port operators signed on Friday a manifesto to clear ports of overstaying cargo containers within 30 days.

BoC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago, International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Senior Vice President Christian Gonzales, Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) Senior Vice President Sean Perez, and Association of International Shipping Lines President Patrick Ronas signed the manifesto.

DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade witnessed the signing at the PPA headquarters in Manila South Harbor of the Manifesto of Support for the efficient utilization of ports. He hailed the signing of the manifesto saying it will “spell good business relationships within the country.”

The manifesto of support aims to prevent port congestion caused by the unscrupulous practice of parking containers until the withdrawal of goods.

Under the manifesto, the PPA will publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation, directing all cargo owners, shippers, consignees, logistics operators, and customs brokers to withdraw cleared containers currently being stored at ports within 15 days from the date of publication. Failure to comply will lead to the transfer of containers to designated Inland Container Depots by the ATI and ICTSI, at the expense of the concerned parties.

Additionally, cleared containers by the BoC that were not removed from the port within 30 days will also be transferred by ATI and ICTSI to their respective Inland Container Depots.

Aside from the removal of overstaying containers, ATI and ICTSI shall regularly provide the government with information on the health of their respective ports, and information on containers that have stayed at the port for at least 30 days from arrival.

“Today is a milestone as all stakeholders from the private sector and the government have come together to implement a sustainable solution to face the problems in our ports,” Santiago said.

Meanwhile, international shipping lines are required to promptly remove containers from the Philippines within the period prescribed by the BoC, either by their regular call vessels or by sweeper vessels. The BoC will regularly dispose of seized or abandoned containers to ensure that the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and South Harbor (SH) are efficiently utilized.

“We are committed to make sure that our ports remain efficient. Rest assured that the BOC will continue to support undertakings such as this to boost revenue and to improve our position globally as a major player in the industry,” said Guerrero.

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