New guidelines to free Manila ports of empty container vans
MANILA, Philippines–Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras will convene a technical working group (TWG) this week to draw up guidelines on the dispatch and allocation of empty container vans at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
The TWG will also discuss plans of action based on the agreements reached during the Manila Ports Forum hosted by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) at the Diamond Hotel in Manila recently.
The Manila Ports Forum drew up agreements with port stakeholders to further improve cargo processing and port operations during the holiday season and over the long term.
Almendras said the problem of empty container vans at the Port of Manila had started to ease following a significant improvement in their positioning by truckers, new systems from the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) and the opening of a new empty container depot (ECD) at the MICT.
The AISL said they would urge their members to operate 24/7 and start moving empty containers to MICT’s new ECD.
Returning empty containers has been identified as a major cause of the backlog at the Manila ports that was caused by the Manila daytime truck ban. Even after the ban was lifted indefinitely in September, the empty container backlog persisted due to the peak holiday trade season.
AISL said they were doing their part to ease congestion at the Manila ports—including a project for an online system on the retrieval of empty containers.
Once approved by the AISL board, the system could be rolled out to interconnect all stakeholders, including shipping lines, truckers and depots directly involved in empty container returns.
AISL said it had commissioned technology provider Cargo Data Exchange Center (CDEC) to develop and implement the integrated system.
The Web-based system was suggested by truckers, specifically Alberto Suansing, director of the Confederation of Truckers Associations of the Philippines, and drew support from other industry stakeholders such as the Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations and Container Depot Association of the Philippines.
Almendras said the new yard expansion at the MICT would significantly improve the situation at the Port of Manila. Shipping lines now have additional space to park their empty containers within the port. “Operationally, this will be very efficient when shipping lines move out their empty containers outside of the country,” he said.
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