Port of Manila operations improve amid decongestion: PPA

By Aerol John Pateña

May 16, 2019, 7:16 pm

MANILA -- Operations within the Port of Manila (POM) have started to improve with the removal of many overstaying containers, which has alleviated problems created by congestion.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said the yard utilization rate at Manila ports has gone down to 70 percent after reaching as high as 90-95 percent in January this year.

“Port efficiency is at its highest as the yard utilization rate continues to drop while the average crane moves per hour is 22 moves or higher with average vessel turnaround time at 20 hours or less. This suggests that port declogging efforts are paying off,” stated PPA in an e-mailed statement to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday.

Last March, the PPA, together with the Department of Transportation, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Bureau of Customs, signed an agreement with private port operators to improve efficiency at their facilities. Containers were given a 30-day limit to stay in terminals after which they are to be transferred to these operators’ inland container yards.

“The three Manila ports: Manila International Container Terminal, Manila South Harbor and Manila South Harbor are operating under optimal conditions even prior to the signing of the agreement due to measures put into place by the PPA. However, the signing of the agreement involving all parties facilitated the decongestion efforts,” the agency said.

The Bureau of Customs earlier stated that the continued easing of the congestion at Manila ports was attributed to its collaboration with port operators Asian Terminal Inc. (ATI) and International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI).

ATI operates the Manila South Harbor while ICTSI is the operator of the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

Overstaying laden containers at the POM were shipped out to the ATI yard in Sta. Clara, Batangas to free up space at the port.

As of April, around 400 staying containers had been transferred from the POM to the ATI facility while removal of the remaining containers is ongoing.

POM administrators continue 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.

The ATI has recently completed the expansion of its Batangas Container Terminal increasing its annual annual capacity from 350,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to over 500,000 TEUs which will help further ease the Manila port congestion.

Meanwhile, overstaying containers at the MICP are transferred to the Laguna Gateway Inland Terminal while empty containers are loaded out every week.

The MICP earlier held consultations with international shipping lines and ICTSI wherein shipping lines agreed to load more empty containers on to their vessels by taking advantage of the downtime at the yard on weekends and holidays.

For its part, the Department of Trade and Industry has said it is eyeing to issue a joint administrative order to address various concerns raised by the private sector such as high shipping costs, congestion due to unreturned empty containers, and overstaying imports in the premises of Manila ports. (PNA)