MANILA, Philippines – The Export Development Council (EDC) is supporting calls to transfer the transit of goods in other international ports in the country to decongest the Port of Manila.
“We are promoting the use of ports outside Metro Manila, particularly the International Port of Batangas for goods moving in and out of South Luzon,” said EDC vice chairperson Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. in a statement.
Ortiz-Luis said because the Manila port is operating beyond its capacity, cargo trucks are congesting not just the port but Metro Manila roads as well.
He said the EDC is recommending the issuance of a policy or an Executive Order that will shift foreign cargoes from the Port of Manila to the Port of Batangas and other newly developed international ports.
Both the Manila International Container Terminal and Manila South Harbor are operating beyond its capacity, EDC said, while the Port of Batangas uses only 2.75 percent of its annual cargo capacity, or 11,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) 400,000 TEU capacity.
“We urge the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to work on a feasible plan and timetable to start transferring the shipment of cargoes in the Port of Batangas and other international ports in the country. This plan can start by putting the proper equipment and people in these ports,” Ortiz-Luis said.
“Likewise, we also expect to address related issues and concerns that hamper the transfer to these ports, particularly the pestering of certain groups in the local government units asking for unnecessary fees to truckers,” he added.
Calls to use the Batangas and Subic ports were raised anew following the implementation of a truck ban in Manila.
Some business groups opposed the ban and suggested moving goods to other ports, but Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Jun Abaya said using the other ports is not a simple issue.
"If you talk to the shippers, they'd say we won't go there since the ships don't go there. If you talk to the shipping lines, they'd say we won't ply that route because the shippers aren't there," Abaya said.
He added that the DOTC has been trying to get shippers and shipping lines management to meet, sit down, and modify their logistical supply systems.