PPA: Manila port congestion improving

Posted at 08/21/2014 8:11 PM | Updated as of 08/21/2014 8:11 PM

MANILA – The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said the situation at the ports of Manila has improved due to several measures implemented to solve the congestion problem.

PPA General Manager Atty. Juan Sta. Ana said cargo backlog and the number of empty containers currently clogging the Manila ports have declined significantly.

“While almost all sectors admit that we are still months away from the normal level, we are now feeling the positive effects of the different mitigating measures put into place both by the private and government sectors, but [it's] not enough to bring it back to pre-Manila Day-time Truck Ban period,” he said.

He said the number of empty containers clogging the port, which he said was a result of the truck ban in Manila, has reached a high of 22,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Laden containers piled up at the Manila ports reached 99,000 TEUs, and occupied about 105 percent of the yard of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and the Manila South Harbor.

Sta. Ana said the utilization rate at the MICT has successfully been reduced to about 90 percent.

However, Sta. Ana warned of an uptick in yard utilization next week due to the long weekend as well as the arrival of cargoes linked to the Christmas season.

He said about 8,175 TEUs have to be cleared to bring down the yard utilization rate to about 80 percent.

The number of empty containers, meanwhile, has been reduced to only 12,000 TEUs while held-up containers at foreign ports have dropped to 20,000 TEUs from 37,000 TEUs in July.

“The reduction in the number of laden and empty containers suggests that productivity has increased dramatically resulting to better efficiency in handling cargoes and vessels at the Manila ports,” he said.

Several business groups, including the Federation of Philippine Industries, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Joint Foreign Chamber, the Indian Foreign Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, have agreed to withdraw their shipments during weekends to prevent clogging at the ports.