Yard utilization at the Port of Manila (POM) and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) has significantly reduced as result of the continuing efforts of the Bureau of Customs to provide facilitated trade environment to its stakeholders.
Policies, measures, and collaborative efforts were done by the BOC to address the problem of high utilization at POM and MICP.
“The continuous decrease in the level of yard utilization at the two major ports is a clear manifestation of the commitment of the officials and personnel of the Bureau to address trade challenges,” said Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero.
He added that the robust relationship between the government and the private sector, particularly the port operators, Asian Terminal Inc. (ATI) and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has helped the Bureau address the problem on yard utilization.
At the Port of Manila, overstaying laden containers were shipped out to the ATI yard in Sta. Clara, Batangas to free up space at the port.
“About 400 staying containers had been transferred from the Port of Manila to the ATI facility (at Sta. Clara Pier, Batangas) the removal of the remaining containers is ongoing,” said District Collector Atty. Rhea M. Gregorio.
She added that based on their monitoring there is “a huge decline on the number of vessels at queue from as high as 21 vessels in February to 0 vessels in March.”
POM 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.
A similar strategy has also been implemented at MICP as overstaying containers are transferred to the Laguna Gateway Inland Terminal. The port recorded that more empty containers are loaded out every week.
“We have been closely coordinating with international shipping lines on the return of empty containers, and the higher rate of empty container load out has freed up space in the container yard,” MICP District Collector Atty. Erastus Sandino B. Austria said. “Around 17,500 to 18,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) were loaded out of MICP beginning on the last two weeks of March.”
MICP held consultative dialogue meetings with the international shipping lines and ICTSI. During those meetings, the shipping lines have agreed to load more empty containers on to their vessels by taking advantage of the downtime at the yard on weekends and holidays.
“As part of the solutions discussed during the consultative meetings, ICTSI has also adapted measures to encourage the pull out of containers during the holidays,” Atty. Austria added.
ICTSI has been offering waived fees, rebates and other perks to encourage importers to claim their laden containers on days where transactions and port activity are typically down.
Similarly, MICP has adapted Saturday as part of its operating days to also encourage importers, and brokers to process their shipments. The Bureau as well consistently deploys skeletal forces on holidays.
As of April, the yard utilization level was down to 69 percent from 95 percent in January at POM. Meanwhile, the utilization rate at MICP is at 70 percent from 90 percent at the beginning of the year.