DOTr reports improvement in port utilization

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Manila South Harbor, one of Manila’s two international ports, has posted significant improvement in yard utilization following a crackdown on overstaying cargoes as part of ongoing efforts to solve port congestion.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said yard utilization at the Manila South Harbor, which is operated by Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI),went down from 98 percent in December last year to 69 percent.

On Monday, the International Container Terminal Services Inc. reported that yard utilization at its flagship Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) saw a rapid drop of about 20 percent, from 90 percent in January to 70 percent at the start of April.

In a statement yesterday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the recent improvements were due to the joint initiative of government and private sector partners to decongest ports, following the signing of a manifesto on efficient port utilization last March 15.

The manifesto formalizes the removal of overstaying containers in Philippine ports to ensure the balance of inbound and outbound containers.

“In less than a month after the signing of the manifesto, we have started removing containers used for unfair practices. Formalizing an agreement is one thing, implementing it is another, and we have done that effectively and immediately,” Tugade said.

In less than two weeks after the manifesto signing, the DOTr said container pullouts have increased to up to 18 percent.

The agency said the number of vessels waiting at the anchorage at the MICT declined significantly from eight ships to zero, and at the Manila South Harbor from 18 ships to just one to two ships.

Tugade said the government would continue to work with the private sector to further improve its programs, policies, and services for more efficient and productive maritime operations throughout the country.

“Aside from addressing port congestion, we have also opened new RoRo routes that fully connect our regions to one another for faster delivery of goods and trade. We are closely working with our partners and stakeholders to fully elevate the country’s economic status worldwide for the benefit of the Filipino people,” Tugade said.

Top executives from the DOTr, Philippine Ports Authority, Bureau of Customs, and port management officials signed a manifesto of support last March 15 for the efficient utilization of Philippine ports in line with the resurfacing problem of port congestion.

The manifesto urged for the immediate retrieval of overstaying and empty cargo to designated ports and off-dock depots.

Tugade said foreign business groups have lauded the government’s efforts, as well as the support of port operators, in resolving the country’s issues on port congestion.

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