Fee discounts set for importers
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Port operator Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) yesterday said cash incentives would be given to importers who withdraw their shipments at the Manila South Harbor during Sundays and Mondays.

ATI said the cash incentives would come in the form of a credit memo, which gives importers a 20-percent discount on arrastre fees by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) by way of waiver of their share.

Apart from the cash incentives given to importers who withdraw their cargoes from the Manila South Harbor from 12:01 a.m. during Sundays to noon Mondays, ATI said importers would also be given free container storage from the sixth to 10th day for their cargo at the port.

ATI added that the credit memo would be applicable on the next port transaction of the importer.

In essence, importers need to pull out their shipment from port during the period in order to avail of the arrastre discount and extended free storage privilege.

Congestion at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and ATI’s South Harbor has caused massive traffic jams in major streets in Metro Manila, extending up to the North Luzon expressway as trucks trying to get inside the ports clog major thoroughfares.

The congestion was caused mainly by the daytime truck ban imposed by the city government of Manila from Feb. 24 to end-May that practically limited the movement of cargoes in and out of port during nighttime only.

The Cabinet cluster led by Secretary Jose Almendras is currently overseeing the government’s interventions to resolve the shipping container backlogs at Manila ports that have been hampered by logistics and trucking constraints in previous months.

ATI has been encouraging importers to avail of this privilege to save on costs and take advantage of lower vehicle movement on roads during lean periods such as weekends.

ATI’s Manila South Harbor, banks, shipping lines, trucking companies, alongside government agencies with port-related functions, remain open during weekends and holidays to accommodate the transactions of shippers.

The PPA gave importers and brokers until Sept. 8 to remove overstaying cargoes already cleared by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) inside the congested ports of Manila, otherwise the containers would be shipped immediately to the ports of Subic and Batangas.

At present, importers, exporters and brokers have a five-day grace period after BOC clearance to remove their containers. The cargo would be seized in favor of the government after 15 days.

The government would impose a 10-fold increase in storage fees starting Oct. 1 to decongest the ports of Manila brought about by overstaying containers.

Fees for unclaimed cargo would increase from the current P500 to P5,000 for 20-foot containers; from P842 to P8,750 for 35-foot containers; from P962.6 to P10,000 for 40-foot containers; and from P1,082.90 to P11,250 for 45-footers.

Utilization rate at the ports of Manila is expected to improve to 88 percent towards the end of the week after climbing to 90 percent due to the long weekend as containers being released at ports continue to climb to 4,400 per day from 4,200.

BOC spokesperson Charo Logarta-Lagamon yesterday said that they do not see the port congestion problem being resolved anytime soon and it is expected to last until 2015. – With Evelyn Macairan, Bebot Sison Jr.


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