MANILA, Philippines – Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said congestion at the port of Manila has begun to ease after several measures were implemented.
Another truck lane has been opened and trucks have been allowed to make a left turn from Roxas Boulevard to Quirino Avenue to get to South Super Highway.
Domingo said further measures will soon be recommended.
“We have a task force composed of all the stakeholders. We recently included the private sector pero lahat ng government agencies are represented… Magre-recommend pa kami ng additional routes papunta ng Binondo because a lot of shipments go to Divisoria and ngayon walang way to get in there, and also additional routes to get to the east of Manila, like Pasig, Antipolo, and Novaliches,” he told ANC on Tuesday.
Domingo admits the port congestion problem has led to an increase in prices of commodities.
“Sa port congestion kasi nag-increase talaga ‘yung shipping cost. sabi nila by about $600 per container. Then there's also an increase in the trucking cost, which is malaki, from P5,000 to P8,000 for deliveries in Metro Manila, it's increased to P20,000 to P30,000, so it's almost tripled. But the truckers have given us assurance that ‘pag nag-normalize na tayo, babalik ‘yung rates. So ngayon na mabilis na ang andar at marami nang ikot ‘yung truck, the rates should start to come down,” he said.
He warned, however, that the port congestion problem will persist throughout the rest of the year, especially with the expected jump in imports in the run-up to the Christmas season.
He said the situation is likely to return to normal only around January next year.
“Although the throughput now is fast, because of the backlog that was created also in Singapore and Hong Kong, ang daming containers for the Philippines na naka-standby doon, nagdadatingan na ngayon, dagsaan na sila nang nakita nila na medyo naayos na dito. Nagpadala ng napakaraming containers, and because of Christmas season, that's gonna continue until December. So pagdating ng January hihina ng kaunti ‘yung dating ng containers, then we can expect that we will be able to normalize,” said Domingo.
Domingo noted that the country's rapid economic growth over the last few years has meant the country needs to add about 25 percent capacity to its ports every four years or so.
He added that authorities must either increase the capacity of Manila's ports, or build a new one in the next 5 to 8 years. - ANC