Shared depot for empty containers eyed to solve port congestion

Published February 26, 2019, 6:33 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Betheena Unite

A shared facility where all shipping companies can store their empty containers is being eyed to address looming port congestion.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero (BOC / MANILA BULLETIN)
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero

This was aired by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero in a forum hosted by the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. in an attempt to address issues that affect port operations, including port congestion.

“And as much as possible, these shipping-line owned depots must be located near industrial areas. PEZA(Philippine Economic Zone Authority) should, therefore, be urged to have a space for empty containers and BOC should accredit these depots,” he added.

The commissioner furthered that “the strict enforcement of the 90-day rule on empty containers should be also undertaken, if only to penalize those that have stayed in the country for over 90 days.”

A re-export bond, he said, should be required from shipping companies for their empty containers. The container imbalance charge (CIC), which is now being charged to importers and brokers, should be included in the re-export penalties and taxes on over-staying empty containers.

It was also suggested that international shipping lines be required to have their own depot outside Metro Manila where they can store empty containers.

This will eliminate the practice of storing empty containers inside port terminals, Guerrero said stressing that the space allocation of the facility should be efficiently managed to maximize its storing capacity.

The Customs chief earlier ordered all empty containers in Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port transferred to the Asian Terminals Inc. in Port of Batangas and Manila International Container Terminal in Subic Bay Freeport, which were declared as extensions of the two ports during port congestion and other emergency cases.