Business as usual for ATI ports in ECQ

Published August 3, 2021, 2:16 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

It will be business as usual for the international gateway ports of Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from Friday, August 6 to 20.

To keep the supply chain from being disrupted, ATI will operate normally at the Manila South Harbor (MSH) and the Batangas Container Terminal (BCT) but will abide by local and international Covid-19 industrial health and safety protocols.

“As a trade enabler, our ports will remain business as usual during this heightened quarantine classification in the NCR Plus to ensure the unhampered flow of food, medical supplies, consumer goods and other vital necessities in support of the economy,” confirmed ATI executive vice president William Khoury.

However, port transactions, such as settling port fees, container bookings and other inquiries will be done online through ATI’s e-Portal facilities for faster and safer contactless interactions.

“Port authorities in Manila and Batangas are also on ready status to process cargoes, so we encourage customers to facilitate their shipments to avoid any inconveniences or unnecessary volume buildups,” he added.

“We enjoin other segments of the supply-chain to do the same, following the guidelines set forth by authorities, to ensure seamless and uninterrupted trade cycles,” according to Khoury.

Trade officials, including law enforcement agencies and transport authorities, earlier assured that the ECQ will not hamper the transit of cargo trucks, including the movement of frontline essential workers such as ports and logistics employees.

Apart from Manila and Batangas ports, ATI operates four strategic Inland Logistics Terminals (ITLs) in Manila and Laguna with a combined static capacity of nearly 12,000 teus (twenty-foot equivalent units) which have been instrumental in maintaining optimal yard utilization rates in MSH and BCT at below 60%.

ATI’s ITLs serve as strategic container yards handling empty returns and laden boxes, especially during volume surges.

Located near industrial zones, the ITLs bring the port closer to beneficial cargo owners for faster, smarter, and leaner logistics practices.

So far, ATI invested in safety initiatives as early as last year, from onsite and nearby lodging for operations staff, dedicated home-to-office shuttles for office personnel, disinfection and sanitation devices, in-house emergency healthcare facilities, on top of prescribed safety protocols among others, to ensure a Covid-resilient port environment.

Vaccination of ATI’s dockworkers also made significant headway in partnership with local government units, community leaders, and industry partners.