PHILIPPINES: The problems of empty container storage in Manila Port have started slithering as significant improvements have been made in empty positioning by trucks, new systems from the Association of International Shipping Lines have been formed and the opening of a new container deport (ECD) at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
This was announced by Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras. Almendras made the announcement during the Manila Ports Forum hosted by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.
AISL said they are doing their part to ease congestion at the Manila ports including a project for an online system on the retrieval of empty containers. Once approved by the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) board, the system can be rolled out to interconnect all stakeholders including shipping lines, truckers and depots directly involved in empty container returns.
AISL said it has commissioned technology provider Cargo Data Exchange Center (CDEC) to develop and implement the integrated system. The web-based system was suggested by truckers, specifically Alberto Suansing, director of the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines, and drew support from other industry stakeholders such as the Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations and Container Depot Association of the Philippines.
At the same meeting, Almendras said: “The new yard expansion at the MICT will significantly improve the situation in the Port of Manila. Shipping lines now have additional space to park their empty containers within the port. Operationally, this will be very efficient when shipping lines move out their empty containers outside of the country,” he said.
Mohamed Ghandar, MICT general manager, said operations at the new yard expansion of the MICT are in full swing to specifically accommodate the storage of empty containers. “Empties are welcome at the MICT 24/7. We have no issues with empty containers,” he added.
Returning empty containers has been identified as a major cause of the backlog at the Manila ports that was caused by the Manila daytime truck ban. Even after the ban was lifted indefinitely in September, the empty container backlog persisted due to the peak holiday trade season.