Manila port braces for cargo peak season
PPA General Manager Juan Sta. Maria said the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) would complete Berth 7’s container yard in the next 30 to 60 days. The docking site is located at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
In 2012, ICTSI announced it would build its 7th berth to sustain the influx of shipment arrivals at the Manila harbor.
Reports said that some 135,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers were stuck at the ports. The Manila harbor has a capacity of 80,000 TEUs.
"However, port operators are bracing for the sudden uptick in yard utilization next week brought about by twin holidays in August with the last one falling on a Monday, August 25, which will virtually extend the weekend as well as the influx of cargos due to the run-up to Christmas," said Sta. Ana.
Congestion at the ports of Manila has eased up, with yard utilization now at 87% to 90%, according to Sta. Ana.
Empty containers have been reduced to 12,000 TEUs from 22,000 TEUs in June, while held-up containers at foreign ports are down from 37,000 TEUs to 20,000 TEUs this month, Sta. Ana said.
“This results in better efficiency in handling cargos and vessels at the Manila harbor,” Sta. Ana said in a statement.
The progress in decongesting the Manila ports is attributed to port operators’ initiative to ship out containers and bring them to neighboring ports of Subic and Batangas, said Sta. Ana.
To encourage importers to use the Batangas port, the Palace has cut down port charges by 90%.
The Cabinet Cluster on Port Congestion also continues to find ways on how to further decongest the ports, including the opening up of additional empty container depots with close proximity to the Manila ports.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Customs said it would also speed up the auction of 1,600 container vans, and of this number, 1,400 contain rice. The bureau said the auction would augment supply in the market and stabilize price increases.
Congestion at the Manila harbor has been aggravated by the Manila city government-imposed truck ban. The ban caused delays in shipment releases, affecting market prices of consumer products. – Mick Basa / Rappler.com