07 September 2011

Freeport firms want box underguard, bond retained

Locators in the Clark and Subic freeport zones say they support the Bureau of Customs’ use of electronic global positioning system or GPS-equipped barrier seals to track cargoes, but want the use of underguarding and the general transportation surety bond (GTSB) retained as alternatives.

The barrier seal project should have been put in place this month but is being delayed until a new BOC commissioner has been appointed.

The barrier seal is designed to replace underguarding and GTSB in monitoring transit cargoes, as well as to alert police on unauthorized opening of container doors.

Customs Administrative Order 4-2010 requires cargo owners to equip their cargoes with the barrier seal to allow officials to track and monitor cargoes from the time they leave customs territory up to their arrival at the destination.

The order also provides for the collection of a transit processing fee of P1,100 for containerized cargo, P400 for breakbulk cargo and a $5 container security fee that will be charged to cargo owners on top of the fee to be collected by the service provider.

"As far as Subic and Clark are concerned, the only issue to be resolved for the project to push through is that the locators be given a choice to use either GPS, GTSB or underguard," Clark GPS-equipped barrier seal consultant Roberto Domondon said.

Many locators want to get the GPS-enabled tracking system so they can go online, yet they need alternatives depending on their type of business.

They also complain about the cost and that the incoming commissioner would study their position.

"We are not yet sure if the new commissioner will push through with the project considering that there are sectors that oppose it," Domondon said.

Under incumbent Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez, Domondon has been keen on imposing the tracking system at the start of September using the graduated fee of P700 per container for cargoes bound for areas within 20 kilometers of the port.

Cargoes for delivery beyond Edsa would be charged P1,500 per container while those transported through the North and South Luzon Expressways would be charged P2,200 per container.

The project has been put on hold since President Aquino’s announcement that a new customs commissioner will report for work starting on September 16.

Locators expect that the new BOC leadership will retain the underguarding and GTSB that cost about P300 per container.

Société Generale de Surveillance (SGS) is the GPS service provider, having bested other bidders such as Cotecna and local firm Tim Corp. (Genivi Factao, Malaya)