Manila ports nearing congestion as holiday period begins
MANILA, Philippines – A day after that it was reported that the Manila ports will be fully decongested early 2015, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said on Tuesday, December 16, that yard utilization is nearing congestion level due to the 10-day holiday period.
Thus, PPP general manager Juan Sta Ana appealed to importers and cargo owners to withdraw their cargos early and, if possible, double the volume each time, considering there is only a week left before Christmas and New Year.
“I’m urging all our importers, brokers, truckers, freight forwarders, cargo owners, and other right holders to withdraw their cargos early or double their volume withdrawals as a pre-emptive measure against a potential congestion brought about by the holidays,” Sta Ana said.
December 24-28 and December 30-January 4 are critical dates, as the ports will be clogged with incoming imports, he said.
As such, port operators will be operating 24/7, except New Year’s Day, as vessels continue to come in even during this holiday season, Sta Ana said.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is also taking operational measures to guarantee the clearance of cargos even during the holidays, Sta Ana said.
As of December 12, the combined yard utilization of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) of the International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) and the Manila South Harbor of Asian Terminals Incorporated (ATI) stood at 81% or approximately 66,000 TEUs.
The Cabinet Cluster on Port Congestion already set a yard utilization target of 80% or approximately 65,200 TEUs.
The November yard utilization went down to 78%, but breached 80% again due the holiday season.
“We have brought down yard utilization to a more manageable level and if cargo owners and brokers fail to takeout their cargos, our yards can easily fill up and we will be right back to congestion level,” Sta. Ana said.
PPA remains fully confident, though, that the Manila ports will be fully decongested early next year once the government and the private sector clear the execess 1% of its current cargo volume to stabilize at the 80% target level.
Also, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) agreed to allow trucks to ply Roxas Boulevard from midnight to 5 am from December 17 to 22.
Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras is also negotiating with the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council to allow trucks to ply the Roxas Boulevard area beyond December 22, Sta. Ana said. – Rappler.com