DTI: Impact of Manila truck ban temporary
MANILA, Philippines – Truck operators and business owners are saying Manila's daytime truck ban has been bad for business, but Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the setback is temporary, as they are learning to adjust their schedules.
He welcomed, however, the increased interest in the Batangas port as a result.
At the sidelines of the Philippine Retailers Association awards at the Crown Plaza Hotel on Wednesday evening, March 19, Domingo said the affected companies were able to adjust to the new system in "two months' time."
“With any change it takes awhile to adjust the system. The warehouse, truckers, while they are adjusting are introducing efficient measures. Eventually they would adjust eventually in two months’ time, it will be okay,” he said.
In late February, the city of Manila introduced a daytime ban on trucks as a way to alleviate traffic in the congested city. From 5 am to 9 pm, trucks are not allowed to enter and traverse the city.
Between passing the ordinance and implementing the ban, the local government introduced a window period from 10 am to 3 pm.
According to Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, Manila's "traffic czar," the 6-month implementation of the window period would allow neighboring ports – such as the ones in Batangas and Subic – to adjust to a possible increase in activity.
Manila has 9 domestic ports and 4 international ports. According to Moreno, around 6,000 container trucks traverse the city daily. Heavier traffic is expected in Metro Manila, due to a series of major roadworks. The first project, Skyway Stage 3, began mid-February and also affects Manila.
“The report we get is that there is an increase of usage of the Batangas port because of this. These are very good developments because we really want to use Batangas port," said Domingo.
However, he added that there are currently not enough ships that call on the Batangas port. But now that more companies are interested in using the Batangas port, getting the capacity should not be hard, Domingo said. "It’ a chicken and egg situation," he added.
Batangas congressman Raneo Abu has said the Batangas port is underutilized, and proposed that shipments meant for provinces in the region south of Metro Manila be directed to it. Manila port operator International Container Terminal Services Incorporated is opposing this, saying the provincial port has a smaller capacity and that most of the Southern Tagalog exports come from Cavite, a province that is nearer Manila. (READ: Battle of porrs: Where should Calabarzon shipments go?) – Rappler.com