11 August 2014

Congested ports stunting growth

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said port congestion due to the truck ban will slow down economic growth before picking up toward year-end.

“We expect that much but the situation will improve by the fourth quarter. With the continuing improvements in port operations by all sectors involved, we can expect quasi-normal operations within 10 days and full normalization by end-September,” he said, admitting things “were doing well before the truck ban”.

Domingo said the situation of the industries dependent on port operations eased up compared to 10 days ago “but may still impact on the GDP (gross national product)”.

In an update last Friday on port and shipping operations, Trade Undersecretary Victoria Dimagiba of consumer protection group said ports had accumulated a backlog of 135,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in three months.

He said six shipping lines were now making as much three portcalls a week in Batangas while Subic Port increased portcalls to twice a week with 600,000 combined TEUs of Wan Hai Philippines Inc. and APL Philippines Co.

To ease port crowding, Customs-cleared overstaying cargo will move to a 10.6-hectare lot at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex.

Also lined up are at least 36-hectares of off-dock facilities to park empty container vans--5 hectares near the Cavitex toll gate; 9 hectares between the IRS Eastern depot and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority; a 4-hectare depot in Malvar, Batangas; 5 hectares within the Asian Terminal facility in Calamba, Laguna; the planned 6-hectares property of ICTSI in Cabuyao and 2 hectares in North Harbor.

Other decongestion measures being proposed include nightime private warehouses to shorten truck dwell time and make more turnaround or trips, weekend cargo release and a five-day port clearance processing. (Othel V. Campos, Manila Standard Today)