House panel looks into importation traffic issues in Port of Manila

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2023 06:51 AM

MANILA—The House Committee on Metro Manila Development has started to look into the importation traffic issues in the Port of Manila, which were raised by a group of customs brokers in the Philippines.

Practicing Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines, Inc. complained on Tuesday about the alleged overcrowding of empty containers at Manila’s port, which it said causes additional fees and traffic congestion in nearby streets.

“Kami po ay dumudulog sa ating committee sa Metro Manila, dahil sa aming naranasan na kahirapan sa pantalan,” PCBAPI Chairperson Reynaldo Soliman said.

“Kung ‘yung trucks mo kumakain ng ilang days nakapatong ‘yung containers sa loob ng port, hindi natin mahila. ‘Yun ang dahilan kaya may queueing ng barko,” he added.

“Bakit nagta-traffic? Efficient ba ang port operation n’yo?…Ang traffic minsan wala sa labas, nasa loob na."

“Dapat si Bureau of Customs, i-oblige si shipping line na magkaroon ng equal yard katumbas kung ano ang quantity ng importation nila,” he suggested.

The Manila International Container Port’s inventory shows that there are 381,000 empty containers since 2021 and 2022 that are already due for payment of duties and taxes. The MICP said after a meeting with stakeholders around November and December last year, it issued demand letters to overstaying containers.

The Bureau of Customs had recommended the strict implementation of Customs administrative orders giving shipping lines a maximum of 90 days dwell time for containers. Under the order, the shipping lines are obligated to have containers exported or returned. Otherwise, it will be subject to duties and payments

“After the meeting with the stakeholders, we have decided to inventory all overstaying containers, and we have issued demand letters to them,” MICP’s Alexander Go said.

“Some shipping lines responded that they are still consolidating their records. But as far as I can recall, there are 381,000 empty containers since 2021 and 2022 that are already due for payment of duties and taxes,” he added.

Committee Chairperson Rep. Rolando Valeriano directed stakeholders to submit their proposed solutions to port congestion.

Manila 3rd District Rep. Joel Chua, meanwhile, plans to file a resolution seeking to investigate the charges imposed by shipping lines on importers.

“There is a need for us to investigate in aid of legislation with respect to this. Why? Nasa-subject po sa abuse eh. Walang nagre-regulate sa kanila,” Chua said.

“Ang nagsa-suffer dito, sa dulo, consumer. Kasi ang charges na ‘yan ipapatong nila sa importer, ang importer ipapatong yan sa konsyumer. Ang talo rito taumbayan,” he added.

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