Port congestion looms anew – PCCI
(The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A repeat of last year’s congestion problems in Manila ports that paralyzed trade is bound to happen this coming Christmas season, the country’s largest business organization warned.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president Alfredo Yao said port congestion may be inevitable during the last quarter of the year as volume of imported goods is expected to surge.

“There should be tightening in the ports again because the truck ban is gone and it’s also the last quarter which is the peak season for  importers,” Yao said.

“I hope not but there is that possibility, although it may not be as bad as last year,” he added.

The PCCI official estimates that 2014’s port congestion resulted in business losses amounting to P70 billion.

Yao admitted there may be no more short-term solutions to prevent the recurrence of the port congestion in the remaining months of 2014.

“Immediately, we can’t do anything about it. In the long run, we should move imports to Subic and Batangas,” he said.

The utilization rate of Manila ports is currently estimated at about 80 percent while that of Batangas and Subic stands at only below 10 percent each.

Yao is also suggesting the deployment of a Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in Manila – similar to those sent to control the chaotic traffic situation along EDSA-to help ease massive road traffic congestion and port congestion.

“Deploying an HPG is not a bad idea, given the improvement it has done in EDSA,” he said.

The PCCI earlier said port congestion is only the result of the real problem of road congestion.

As such, the group expressed support for a proposal for an elevated expressway project that would ease congestion at the ports of Manila and help spare consumers, exporters and importers from high costs of deliveries.

The government has earlier dismissed congestion concerns this holiday season, saying the two international ports in Manila have already reached optimum ideal capacity, making them ready for the expected increase in activity starting the Christmas and New Year festivities.

ACIRC ALFREDO YAO BATANGAS AND SUBIC CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CONGESTION HIGHWAY PATROL GROUP MANILA PHILIPPINE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY PORT SUBIC AND BATANGAS YAO
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