MANILA: Philippines customs authority has assured the de congestion of Manila Port by the start of 2015. However, they have annotated that more space is needed in order to increase accommodation capacity to gradually increase trade transactions in future.
“My purview is to solve the problem and hopefully by January or February, this is all over,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told reporters during the Manila Ports Forum.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo told reporters in the same event the conditions at the ports have been improving and are expected to continue. While there were more containers coming in than empty containers being shipped out from the ports during the January to October period, he said the situation has been reversed this month.
“There are more containers being taken out so that means there is reduction on empty containers starting November. That’s a very big step to the solution,” he said.
Even as more empty containers are being removed from the ports, congestion remains, given an abnormal increase in the volume of imports. Almendras said while the government initially expected the congestion at the ports to be resolved by November with shipments for Christmas usually arriving in October, there has been an abnormal increase in volume of imports, particularly for construction materials, this month.
“We are seeing significant increase of importation of construction materials. We are seeing, and even the ports outside are telling us, some of them are reporting 20 percent increase in the volume of cargo coming in for construction and capital goods,” he said.
With different shipping rates in effect, he said the government is also planning to publish such to serve as guide for firms.
“We are requesting for clarification on what their shipping rates are. Some are here and some are there. We want to see where they are …and publish them for transparency so you can choose,” he said.
Amid an expected increase in shipments in the coming years as the economy grows, the government sees the need for ports to undertake expansion programs.
“With the kind of growth we are seeing, we should be ready for it,” Almendras said.
Containers at Manila’s ports have piled up and businesses have complained of delays in deliveries following the imposition of a truck ban by the City Government of Manila in February this year.