20 July 2014

Subic Bay ports to be used as temporary container depots starting August 10

MANILA - Foreign shipping lines will soon be sending sweepers to the Port of Manila, composed of the Manila International Container Terminal and the Manila South Harbor, to ship out the empty containers to Subic Bay.

This setup was agreed upon in the cluster meeting on the Manila Port Congestion presided by Philippine Port Authority (PPA) General Manager Juan Sta. Ana.

It was attended by the Bureau of Customs, the Association of International Shipping Lines, ICTSI, Asian Terminals, Inc., the Trade Industry, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, among others.

According to the PPA, the move was to help reduce the number of empty containers piling up at the ports of Manila, which have been a major contributor to the Port's congestion worsened by the day-time truck ban.

In turn, Subic Bay International Terminal, Corp. (SBITC) and mother firm International Container Terminal Services, Inc., operators of Subic’s New Container Terminals 1 and 2, will not levy any port fee.

This includes arrastre and stevedoring, to all shipping lines that will bring their empties to these ports.

To give ample time for both parties to iron out the kinks of the process, both the foreign shipping lines and ICTSI agreed to start the process tentatively for August 10.

Meanwhile, instead of bringing it back to Manila and sending it to Subic via the sweepers, all parties are also eyeing at directly sending boxes bound for North of Manila to Subic once the consignees empties the containers.

Approximately 30 percent of cargoes passing through the Manila ports are northbound.

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines has agreed to come out with a favorable fare matrix for this alternative as shipping of containers via trucks will be in the account of the importers.

For Southbound cargoes, particularly those for Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon, empty containers will be directly transported to Batangas Port while empties to and from Cavite will be transported back to Manila with other empties that will be pick-up immediately by the shipping lines.

Port rates, on the other hand, will be levied with an obscene discount.

For exporters needing boxes for shipments that will be ship-out via Manila can get boxes in Batangas or Subic before it will be transported to Manila.

As of the moment, there are about 17,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) empty containers occupying spaces at the Ports of Manila. Once shipped out of Manila congestion will greatly be reduced.

Containers are owned by the shipping lines. Shipping out these boxes from ports is the sole decision of the carriers. (PNA)

PHOTO: The New Container Terminal 1 (NCT 1) in Subic Bay Freeport Zone