Port industry players: Freeze truck ban
MANILA, Philippines – Port industry players called for a moratorium on the truck ban to avoid repeating the congestion caused by this policy in Manila.
In a report titled, “Port and Road Infrastructure for Greater Luzon Trade” released late September, the port industry players also sought multiple 24-hour single lanes for all cargoes, especially for the North, South, and Cavite expressways.
The single lanes provision should also come with a 24-hour free flow exemption policy for refrigerated, perishable, and dangerous cargoes and the exclusion of Saturdays from truck ban rules.
The government also needs to immediately implement road projects to provide alternate routes for cargo trucks going in and out of the Manila ports, the port stakeholders said.
The North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road will resolve the current road congestion leading to the ports, the port industry players said in the report.
The connector road proposed by Metro Pacific Transport Corp. links 3 ports – the Manila North Harbor, the Manila South Harbor, and the Manila International Container Terminal.
But developing 5 excellent ports serving international and domestic trades will give shippers, consignees, shipping lines, and logistics providers more choices based on efficiency levels, the report said. The 5 ports include the 3 Manila ports and Batangas and Subic.
The report also proposed the fast-tracking of the yard capacity development behind Berth 7 at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and the modernization of the Manila North Harbor Port’s facilities, cranes, and manpower.
Bottleneck in the supply chain was evident when the Manila truck ban was imposed in February 2014, the report said. The ban was lifted on September 13.
“… Any serious disruption of cargo flow lowers efficiency, generates additional costs, and ultimately represents a cost to the economy,” the report said.
Disruptions in the import side were also felt. Apart from the truck ban, the report cited other impediments such as the following: long berthing and waiting time; bad weather; crane and equipment downtime and stoppage; overstaying containers; strikes; slow clearances; manpower shortage; road traffic and breakdown; floods, security, and hijacking threats; poor inventory management; full container yards; and lack of available space.
Hurdles to efficient export flows are the same, the report stated.
Integration, not separation
For the long-term, the government should appoint an agency or person to oversee the planning of the transport system and ensure supply chain efficiency, the report said.
The port industry players also asked for master plans for the whole port area of Manila and the expansion of ports of Batangas and Subic for present and future international and domestic cargoes.
In the end, “integration not separation” between a city and a port is needed, the report said, citing as notable examples the port-cities of Melbourne, Australia and Vancouver, Canada.
“Together, the two entities can deliver a larger critical mass of beneficial commercial activity. One feeds off the other,” and the positive coexistence of both requires hard work and coordinated planning, the report pointed out.
The report was made from Inputs from port operators Asian Terminals Inc., International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and Manila North Harbor Port Inc., and industry groups Association of International Shipping Lines; Integrated North Harbor Truckers Association; Philippine Liner Shipping Association; Philippine Inter-Island Shipping Association; and Port Users Confederation Inc. – Rappler.com