By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios
The horror that haunted the exporters and importers that happened in 2014 when there was port congestion that resulted in a lot of financial losses to the businessmen and companies will not happen again. Thus all the goods coming in and out of the Philippines this Christmas season are coming to town.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said that contrary to previous reports that there is port congestion in Manila harbor, he clarified everything will run smoothly even during the peak season of the Christmas holidays.
Lopez intimated that Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña assured him that operations in the port are in steady condition, adding that firms need not hold off their shipments, as delays in the transport of goods could affect supply and, in turn, prices.
“All businessmen and companies involved in import and export are jittery about the unverified news that the port is experiencing congestion now. I had a meeting with Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña and he clarified that there is no congestion in the Port of Manila. We need to clear this issue because perceived port congestion may cause companies to delay their shipments, and, consequently, may result in a lower supply of goods and higher inflation,” Lopez said.
According to the Trade Chief, there are firms that have been given the impression that there’s congestion due to the port’s policy to limit the entry of empty container vans. The space for empty containers is already fully utilized and allowing more may fill up space for loaded containers,
“The Bureau of Customs is already increasing its capacity via inland container depots in Laguna and other areas to solve this issue. But rest assured that there is no delay in transporting shipments to and from the port,” Lopez said.
Meanwhile, POM District Collector Erastus Sandino Austria, said that the POM is being utilized well based on the following metrics: quay crane productivity or the number of containers moved per hour; import dwell time, or the number of days the shipment has been in the port, and the overall yard utilization level.
The International standards for quay crane productivity are 25 moves per hour. To declare port congestion, the import dwell time must be 10 days or more.
Lopez said that based on District Collector Austria’s information, the metrics for the first three quarters of 2018 are well within international standards. Quay crane productivity is 24.84 moves per hour, import dwell time is seven days and yard utilization level is at 85 percent. Therefore, this is counter to the congestion that took place in 2014. During that event, quay crane productivity was 15 moves per hour, import dwell time was 17 days to 18 days and port utilization was at 96 percent.