10 December 2012

Decongest Manila: Cargo Diversion To Subic, Batangas Starts 1Q 2013

A new policy on how to decongest traffic to and from the Manila port by diverting container cargoes to the Subic and Batangas seaports will be in place by the first quarter of 2013.

This was disclosed by the consultants who made a study on the twin issues of decongesting Metro Manila traffic and making full use of the recently modernized alternate ports during a final consultation held at a hotel in the Ortigas business district in Pasig early this week.

The consultants were commissioned by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) late last year and were funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The consultants responded that the decongestion and diversion program will be finished by the end of this year and be ready for executive decisions by January.

A representative to the consultation from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) informed the group that the council of Metro Manila mayors has passed a resolution imposing a new truck band during the holidays.

The resolution, if not rescinded on time, will impose a trucking ban from the streets of the metropolis between 4 in the morning to 9 in the evening from December 3 to 26 or the height of preparations for the long Christmas to New Year holiday.

The MMDA said the mayors made the decision after the truckers failed to submit a route plan for truckers to decongest city streets of heavy traffic after they were given a six-month notice.

Even at this late time, some reservations were still brought out during the consultation as to how practical the consultants’ recommendations will be.

It was pointed out that as a destination for imports, Metro Manila remains the biggest market compared to any other region in the country. This would mean, most ships for imported goods will still prefer to call at the Manila Port.

Secondly, the shipping lines, in order to sail directly to and from Subic and Batangas, must be able to pick up or deliver bigger volumes of cargo to make additional ships call on those ports more than just one or two ships a week.

Thirdly, the truckers that bring cargo in and out the ports are mostly based in Metro Manila. (Edu Lopez, Manila Bulletin)