Manila port speeds up case settlements to free up space
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila International Container Port (MICP) is seeking to expedite the settlement of 1,236 pending cases to free up more spaces within the port, according to an official.

In a statement, MICP district collector Erastus Sandino Austria said the port has rolled out initiatives to speed up the formulation of decisions on seizure, forfeiture and abandonment proceedings that are still pending with its law division.

“This is part of the port’s efforts to expedite the removal of overstaying containers with pending cases at the yard,” Austria said.

According to Austria, pending cases pose a bottleneck in the removal of overstaying containers at the MICP yard as shipments with undecided cases cannot be auctioned or disposed of in accordance with the law.

He said the faster disposition of cases would ultimately allow the MICP to remove more containers in the yard and improve yard utilization.

In line with this, Austria said the MICP has finished the inventory of all pending cases with its law division last month.

He said the port has identified more than a thousand cases awaiting decision, with some cases dating as far back as 2012. These are now cataloged in a database where each cases’ details and status can be easily monitored.

“With this, overdue cases can easily be identified and assigned for faster disposition from the law division,” the MICP said.

Furthermore, Austria said the law division is encouraging claimants to submit position papers to speed up the decision process.

Earlier, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the yard utilization level at the MICP as of April has declined to 70 percent from 90 percent in January.

Guerrero attributed this to the policies and measures done by the BOC to address the issue of the high yard utilization level in the port.

Guerrero said the coordination between the government and the private sector, including the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), has helped the bureau address congestion problems.

Austria, for his part, said overstaying containers in MICP are being transferred to the Laguna Gateway Inland Terminal.

He said the MICP also held consultative meetings with stakeholders, where shipping lines have agreed to load more empty containers on to their vessels by taking advantage of the downtime at the yard on weekends and holidays.

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