PORT SECTOR CONTINUES TO EFFECT SOLUTIONS TO PORT CONGESTION
The Philippine Ports Authority together with the Bureau of Customs, Terminal operators, Shipping lines, the Truckers and Port Users Confederation and other stakeholders at the port are continuously collaborating with the end goal of finding and implementing short term as well as long term or permanent solutions to the problem of port congestion specifically at the Manila ports.
As in previous years, container and cargo traffic increased during the last quarter of the year primarily due to the increased importations in reference to the onset of the holiday season. However, this year the increase in volume was already seen and felt as early as the third quarter mainly due to the influx of inward cargoes.
PPA General Manager Juan C. Sta. Ana said that everyone in the port sector are giving their extra effort in finding and implementing short term solution to address the unusual port congestion and the abnormal traffic flow at the South Harbor and the Manila International Container Terminal. “We particularly recognize the continued effort of the terminal operators , Bureau of Customs, the freight forwarders, the port users and the truckers for extended hours and/or 24/7 operations as well as the shipping lines for toning down the delivery of empty containers and sending vessels to sweep off as many empty containers as possible or approximately 9,000 empty containers”, Sta. Ana added.
GM Sta. Ana said however that although the priority plan is to further find short term solutions to address the port congestion situation, we are now looking also on the ways of implementing a long term or even permanent solutions to the problem of port congestion. “ We want to be forward looking this time and some of the long term solutions we have identified are increasing the capacities of the ports in terms of areas and equipment as well as systems of operations; development of piers and lengthening of berths; provision of additional warehouses, back-up areas and container yards among others,” Sta. Ana stressed.
International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) for its part committed to prioritize among others the lengthening of Berth 6 by 320 meters and Berth 7 by 300 meters, expansion of the container yard and the procurement of three quay cranes and reach stackers. ICTSI is likewise looking into an area outside of the port zone which it plans to develop as truckholding area.
For the South Harbor, the Asian Terminal Inc. (ATI) on the other hand plans to prioritize the extension of Pier 3 by 120 meters, expansion of container yard, the expansion of Pier 9, and the demolition of two PPA buildings to give way to a bigger and expanded container yard, among others.
The Philippine Ports Authority has appealed to the members of the Port and Shipping Sector to work harder and do a little more sacrifice to help mitigate the problem of port congestion. GM Sta. Ana said that the PPA will not only commit to further develop the capacities of ports in Manila but all the key ports nationwide.