MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Monday, August 11, asked Malacañang to designate 5 additional routes for trucks coming to and from the ports of Manila as the city government sticks to its ordinance prohibiting heavy cargo vehicles from plying its streets, except Roxas Boulevard.
“That will help a lot in terms of congestion,” said Juan Sta. Ana, PPA general manager.
The proposal, which is now in the hands of the Cabinet, stemmed from the complaints of importers, whose raw materials do not reach their warehouses in time, said Sta. Ana.
“So they face problems in their warehouses because people can’t process anything, causing shutdowns,” Sta. Ana told reporters in a briefing at the PPA headquarters.
Sta. Ana presented 5 proposed routes, in addition to the compromise 24-hour Roxas Boulevard express lane for trucks that Malacañang announced in June.
The routes include:
- Southern Truck Route 1: From Port Area to South Superhighway (Road 10/A. Bonfiacio Drive, left P. Burgos, Finance Road, Ayala Boulevard, right San Marcelino, left President Quirino, right President Osmena Highway)
- Southern Truck Route 2B: From Port Area to South Superhighway (Road 10/A. Bonifacio Drive, Roxas Boulevard, left Pres. Quirino, right Pres. Osmena Highway)
- Southern Truck Route 2C: From Port Area to Cavite (Road 10/A. Bonifacio Drive, Roxas Boulevard, onward to Cavitext)
- Northern Truck Route: From Port Area to NLEX (A. Bonifacio Drive / R-10, right C3 left A. Bonifacio St. then proceed to NLEX)
- Eastern Truck Route: From Port Area to Pasig, Marikina, Cainta and Antipolo/Teresa via Nichols/C5
- From Road 10/A. Bonifacio Drive left to P. Burgos/Finance Road, go straight to Ayala Boulevard, then right turn to San Marcelino St., right President Quirino Ave., right South Super Highway go up Nichols Bridge, left turn, left turn then right to Service Road, then left to C5, go straight and right to Ortigas Extension.
- From C5/Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, turn right at Pasig Boulevard, left turn to Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue then straight towards Ortigas Ave.
- Port Area to Antipolo/Cainta/Pasig/Taguig via Quirino/Commonwealth
- From A. Bonifacio Drive / R-10 turn right onto C3 Road, turn left onto A. Bonifacio Avenue, continue onto A. Bonifacio Avenu and exit on the left onto Quirino Highway, turn right onto Comonwealth Ave. make a u-turn at u-turn slot, turn right onto Batasan Road, turn left onto Batasan-San Mateo Road, turn right onto J.P. rizal St., turn left onto Bayan-Bayanan Ave. Take the second right onto E. Manalo St., turn left onto Guerilla, take the second right onto Mayor Gil Gernando Ave. turn left onto Sumulong Highway.
Manila began to ban trucks after Mayor Joseph Estrada signed an ordinance in February, prohibiting trucks from entering or passing through the city from 5 am to 9 pm, with a 10 am to 3 pm window.
Since the truck ban, only 3,500 TEUs are being moved out each day, while the average TEUs arriving daily is at 5,000, causing a backlog of 1,500 TEUs per day, figures from the PPA revealed.
Some 135,000 TEUs are stuck at the ports that have a total capacity of 80,000 TEUs, said Sta. Ana.
“We just want to return to the February 24 status quo, where there were several lanes that trucks can operate and we had no problems in the past years using those routes,” said Sta. Ana.
Prior to the implementation of the ban, port operators move out 6,000 TEUs, a thousand more than the amount of TEUs arriving at the ports each day.
In their defense, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Meron said the ban was to compel importers to utilize the ports of Batangas and Subic, which were built out of loans reaching P17.5 billion.
“Until now, we are still paying those debts, aside from the almost P111 billion loan used to build SLEX, Star Tool, NLEX and SCTEX purportedly for the use of these ports,” he tweeted on Monday.
Port operators have helped government decongest the yards of containers by commissioning “sweepers” to ship out empty containers from Manila ports to Subic and Batangas.
The International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), which operates at the Manila North Harbor, for instance, commissioned Hanjin from Hong Kong to sweep off 1,200 TEUs per vessel, amounting to P14 million for the period of 15 days.
In return, Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation and ICTSI agreed not to levy any port fees on all shipping lines that will take out their empty containers.
“They gave it to us for free. While it may benefit the government, it will also benefit them,” said Sta. Ana.
The PPA warned that if the additional truck routes would not be approved, the ports would face a more serious problem as September is the onset of cargo peak season.
This, despite assurance from Malacañang that the congestion of major ports in Metro Manila would ease by August 16. – Rappler.com
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