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            september 21, 2019

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ICTSI welcomes Philippine government's measures


Philippines-headquartered International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) has welcomed concrete measures implemented by the government to clear Manila port - the location of its flagship operation - of overstaying cargo, according to Shipping Gazette.
ICTSI global corporate head Christian Gonzalez lauded the collaborative and complementing efforts of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Department of Transportation (DoTr), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to resolve the issue of overstaying cargo by ensuring their swift clearance.
"We thank the Philippines government for taking a hard stand in fast-tracking the disposal and reduction of overstaying and empty containers at Manila ports. The results have been immediate and goes to show what determination and focus of purpose can do," said Mr Gonzalez.
Just one month after the PPA issued an ultimatum for overstaying containers, yard utilisation at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) rapidly dropped by 20 per cent, from 90 per cent in January this year to 70 per cent at the start of April.
The healthy yard utilisation happened despite higher volume handled, especially in March where MICT handled a record monthly volume.
The terminal was able to accept almost double the number of empty containers it had been receiving, freeing up trucks in the process which, in turn, resulted in more import cargo pick ups.
Import dwell time was cut from 11 days in January to 6.6 days at the start of April. This has resulted in zero ship queues compared to December's peak season.
ICTSI also continues to transfer more overstaying laden containers to Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal (LGICT) in Calamba.
Mr Gonzalez added: "We are optimistic that most have understood the need for containers to move regularly and in a timely fashion but the proof will come after Easter which historically has seen overstaying boxes surge."
The government led various port stakeholders - including ICTSI, Asian Terminals Inc (ATI) and international shipping lines - in the signing a Manifesto of Support last March for the efficient utilisation of Manila port, encouraging the immediate retrieval of overstaying and empty cargo to designated ports and off-dock depots.
A joint administrative order (JAO) will soon be issued by the Trade Department, the BOC and PPA to address concerns on unreturned empties and overstaying imports.
Even before the manifesto was signed, ICTSI took the lead along with Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations and Container Depot Alliance of the Philippines to undertake immediate steps to resolve problems related to the return of empty containers.
This includes the identification of depot areas that could be leased for empty storage, with ICTSI covering the cost of the lease; movement of 5,000 overstaying containers to bonded warehouses outside of the terminal; and the use of the San Miguel Yamamura property near the MICT to store and reposition empty containers, starting from April 1.
The use of LGICT, a bonded facility in Calamba, and the Cavite Gateway Terminal in Tanza have also been encouraged to boost truck movement in the metropolis.

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