By Raymund Antonio
Congestion at the Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port, two of the country’s major ports, is completely over, the Bureau of Customs said on Sunday.
The BOC, in a statement, announced there is no longer port congestion at the Manila ports, as their combined yard utilization was reduced to 70 percent, which resulted from “collaborative” efforts by the agency.
“The continuous decrease in the level of yard utilization at the two major ports is a clear manifestation of the commitment of the officials and personnel of the bureau to address trade challenges,” said Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
Guerrero referred to the “robust relationship” of the BOC with port operators Asian Terminal Inc. and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
This, according to the BOC chief, had helped the congestion issue to be resolved.
ATI operates the Manila South Harbor while ICTSI is the operator of the MICP. Both ports were caught in a gridlock because of the high yard utilization at the ports.
At the POM, overstaying laden containers were shipped out to the ATI yard in Sta. Clara, Batangas to free up space at the port.
“About 400 staying containers had been transferred from the Port of Manila to the ATI facility the removal of the remaining containers is ongoing,” said POM district collector and lawyer Rhea Gregorio.
Gregorio noted the “huge decline” on the number of vessels at queue from as high as 21 vessels in February to zero vessels last month.
The POM continues the strict monitoring of the return and load out of empty containers to ensure faster processing of transactions for the release of shipments which resulted in fewer delays in the berthing of vessels and unloading of shipping containers at the yard.
Meanwhile, MICP district collector Erastus Sandino Austria said about 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units were cleared at the port since the last two weeks of March.
The overstaying containers had been transferred to the Laguna Gateway Inland Terminal while more empty containers were being loaded out if MICP every week.
“We have been closely coordinating with international shipping lines on the return of empty containers, and the higher rate of empty container load out has freed up space in the container yard,” Austria, who is also a lawyer, said.
The MICP held consultative dialogue meetings with the ICTSI and international shipping lines, wherein the latter agreed to load more empty containers on their vessels by taking advantage of the downtime during weekends and holidays at the yard.
“As part of the solutions discussed during the consultative meetings, ICTSI has also adapted measures to encourage the pull out of containers during the holidays,” he added.