Port authorities boot out overstaying containers

By Emmie V.  Abadilla

Overstaying containers in ports nationwide will soon be cleared, after the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have signed a Manifesto of Support for the efficient use of the country's ports.

The manifesto will prevent the imbalance of inbound and outbound containers due to the unscrupulous practice of using the ports for prolonged storage of containers until the withdrawal of goods will give owners maximum profit.

Under the manifesto, the PPA will publish a Notice in a newspaper of general circulation, directing all cargo owners, shippers, consignees, logistics operators, and customs brokers to withdraw cleared containers currently being stored at ports within fifteen days from the date of publication.

Failure to comply will lead to the transfer of containers to designated Inland Container Depots by the Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) and the International Container Terminals Services Inc (ICTSI) at the expense of the concerned parties.

Cleared containers by the BOC that were not removed from the port within thirty days will also be transferred by ATI and ICTSI to their respective Inland Container Depots.

Aside from the removal of overstaying containers, ATI and ICTSI shall regularly provide the government with information on the health of their respective ports, and information on containers that have stayed at the port for at least thirty days from arrival.

Meanwhile, international shipping lines are required to remove containers from the Philippines within the period prescribed by the BOC, either by their regular call vessels or by sweeper vessels.

The BOC will regularly dispose of seized or abandoned containers to ensure that the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and South Harbor (SH) are efficiently utilized.