ECCP: Manila truck ban 'economic sabotage'

Posted at 02/24/14 5:17 PM

MANILA – The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) expressed its opposition to Manila's truck ban, saying it will not just hurt trade and the economy but will make traffic worse.

ECCP President Michael Raeuber in a statement described the effect of the truck ban as “economic sabotage,” saying that by limiting transport time, they would effectively limit the time the ports are working, putting incredible strain on them.

“The city of Manila threatened to effectively limit port working time to a few hours in the evening, which would create incredible peaks in demand, increase utilization (eventually to 100 percent), increase the required number of trucks in the chain, and eventually shut down trade. That would be close to economic sabotage,” he said.

ECCP also said that by limiting the number of hours trucks can be on the road, the roads will be gridlocked during those hours.

One of the solutions the ECCP proposes, instead of banning trucks on all or main streets, is that authorities should identify truck lanes that will be open for 24 hours, which it says will ensure a constant flow without pile-ups.

ECCP also suggests removing empty containers from the port area by disallowing their storage, solving traffic bottlenecks at Bonifacio Drive, Anda Circle, and RA 10, and extend the working hours of Customs to 24/7.

It added that plans for a connector road linking the port with the NLEX-SLEX connector will take 70 percent of container cargo off the small city roads.

“The harbor connector will also help the movement to and from Batangas and Subic ports, as it makes them an option for Manila bound cargo,” ECCP said.

The daytime truck ban took effect on Monday.

Under the ordinance, eight-wheel trucks with a gross weight of above 4,500 kilograms will only be allowed on city streets from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day except on Saturdays and Sundays, with a window period of five hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said the window period will only last for six months.

Violators will be slapped with a fine of P5,000 while their vehicles will be towed. -- With ANC