Manila truck ban pulls down Customs revenues

Posted at 02/25/14 2:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The expanded truck ban in Manila caused a big drop in Customs revenue collections during the first day of implementation.

In a statement, the Bureau of Customs said the Port of Manila and Manila International Container Port have seen a "drastic slowdown" in the release of container vans on Monday (February 24), when the daytime truck ban took effect.

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.

MICP only released four container vans on Monday from a daily average of 2,150. At the Port of Manila, there were no container vans released on Monday, from an average of 1,200 container vans per day from February 1 to 21, 2014.

The BOC said the revenue collection from both ports also declined significantly. MICP collected only P262.8 million, 27% lower than the daily average of P360 million. Revenues from Port of Manila also fell 47% to P134.4 million from the previous daily average of P253 million.

The two ports, which are the biggest in terms of cargo volume and customs revenues, accounts for about 48% of total collections of the entire Bureau of Customs.

"While there are conditions and factors that are beyond the control of the Bureau of Customs, we are ready to adjust to the needs of importers and other stakeholders," said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla in a statement.

He said the BOC is coordinating with affected stakeholders, including the Port Users Confederation, as well as Asian Terminals, Inc. and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc., private port operators that run Port of Manila and MICP, respectively, on contingency measures.

On Monday, 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 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.