'Empties' to be moved out of Manila port - PEZA chief

by Coco Alcuaz, ABS-CBN News Channel

Posted at Jul 25 2014 01:14 AM | Updated as of Jul 25 2014 08:26 PM

MANILA - The government says it's planning to move empty container vans congesting the Port of Manila to speed up imports and exports and help companies suffering from delayed shipments.

Deliveries have slowed since Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada imposed a partial truck ban, and as container vans take up space in the port.

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Lilia de Lima says the government will move the vans, known as "empties," to Subic and Cavite because the delays are hurting businesses, including exporters and other manufacturers in economic zones.

"In my 19 years in PEZA, this is the first time I encountered a problem so hurting as the port congestion, but nonetheless, I assure the locators this won't be for long," De Lima said in a ANC interview to be broadcast in the future.

"The solution is to take out those 'empties' and deposit them somewhere and that's exactly what we'll be doing. ICTSI [International Container Terminal Services Inc.] will be bringing theirs to Subic, and Peza will, within the week, will start with Cavite eco zone. We've identified 5 hectares there where we can stockpile the 'empties.'"

De Lima says she is also promoting the Batangas Port, which would cater to the industrial zones in the CALABARZON area.

She says, starting August 3, the Batangas Port will have daily shipping, except on Thursdays, from its current twice a week shipping.

One company hit by the truck ban, food and beverage corporation, RFM, today says it's lost about 15 to 20-percent of sales due to the problem.