Senate probe on Manila port congestion sought


Posted at Aug 06 2014 04:01 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2014 12:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Bam Aquino is seeking an investigation on the worsening cargo congestion at the Port of Manila.

Aquino filed Senate Resolution no. 809, noting that port congestion is having a negative effect on the price of commodities and operations of local businesses, importers and exporters.

Container vans have been taking up space at the port ever since Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada imposed a partial truck ban in the city.

The senator noted the longer it takes for the problem to be solved, the price of goods carried by importers and exporters will continue to rise.
"We will prolong the agony of the public if we will not help government agencies find ways to address the gridlock in the ports that led to untimely delays in shipment of goods, said Aquino.
For instance, delays in cargo deliveries have caused price of agricultural products to increase. Aquino noted some manufacturers of fresh produce couldn't fully ship out the goods due to possible spoilage because of long queues in the ports.
"Because of this, the country's exports have become highly uncompetitive," Aquino, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, said.
Earlier, the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion said the 5.8 percent to 7.2 percent growth target for exports is not feasible because of the continued congestion at the port.
"The decrease in trade volume affected the law on supply and demand, which resulted in abrupt price increases," he said.

Aquino had earlier suggested to port authorities to look into the Ports of Batangas and Subic Bay as alternative cargo drop-off points.
"With the upcoming ASEAN integration in 2015, there is a need to have immediate and long-term solutions to the problems on port congestion since the flow of goods had been restricted by the issuance of policy orders of different government agencies," he said.