Processing of imported cargoes in five major ports in the country had improved and delays occurred not on the release but on the lodgement of shipments, a study conducted by the Bureau of Customs showed.
The Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port (MICP), Port of Davao, Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) in Cagayan de Oro, and the Port of Zamboanga were covered by the 2020 Time Release Study (TRS) aimed to determine bottlenecks on cargo clearance and release time.
According to the study, the time for processing of imported cargo by the bureau averaged only from 1 day, 22 hours and 9 minutes in MICP, 2 days, 9 hours and 44 minutes in Port of Manila, 2 days, 15 hours and 37 minutes in Port of Davao, and 1 day, 12 hours, and 5 minutes in MICT.
There was, however, no containerized cargo that arrived in Zamboanga during the TRS period, the bureau said.
Findings on exports also showed “expeditious processing of shipments” with the time average of only 27 minutes and 34 seconds in MICT, 1 day, 11 hours, 16 minutes in Zamboanga and 2 days, 14 hours, 45 minutes in Port of Davao, 14 hours and 2 minutes in Port of Manila and 7 minutes, 48 seconds in MICP.
The TRS also showed that the delay, if any, in the release of shipment “was not within the customs jurisdiction but actually occurs before the formal lodgment of the declarations, which is considered as pre-customs, as well as after the BOC’s online release to the arrastre, which is considered as post customs.”
The bureau said the study manifested that the improved processing can be attributed to the introduction of new measures such the operationalization of the Customer Care Portal, which promotes ease of doing business in a secured manner; and the Goods Declaration and Verification System, which provides a first-in, first-out queuing system and allows for a real-time update on the status of goods declaration.
It added that the Document Tracking System, which enables the online monitoring and tracking of all documents received and generated by Customs offices, is also among the key factors to improved processing time.
Tentative release of shipments was also allowed with the issuance of Customs Memorandum Order No. 07-2020, which enables the processing of provisional goods declaration under the Formal Entry System.
The bureau furthered that the computerization and improved risk management system also contributed to the fast processing of shipments.
The TRS report is currently being worked on and will be published in the Customs website as part of the requirement of the ASEAN and for public information.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said that the TRS report is a valuable tool in enhancing trade facilitation and determining the various factors affecting port’s operations.
“By identifying the problems and so-called bottlenecks in customs processes and procedures, appropriate solutions or policies can be put in place and we can accomplish our goal of being world-class at the soonest possible time,” Guerrero said.
The conduct of the study was spearheaded by Atty. Noemi Alcala-Garcia, acting chief of the Planning and Policy Research Division and head of the TRS technical working group.