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Ports authority blames Manila’s daytime truck ban for congestion

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Monday identified the daytime truck ban imposed by the city government of Manila as the root cause of the congestion problem in the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and the Manila Port.
In a press briefing of the PPA aired live on GMA's “News TV Live”, PPA general manager Juan Sta. Ana said that prior to the implementation of the daytime truck ban on February 24, could usually move some 5,000 container vans a day from the vessels to the ports.
“If 5,000 containers a day are being discharged to the port, dapat mailabas yan, similar number or approximately. Nailalabas natin yan sa port through the trucks, minsan up to 6,000 containers pa nga ang nailalabas natin daily,” Sta. Ana said.
“During the first three months of the truck ban, pareho parin, 5,000 containers being discharged from the vessel...but you will notice na hindi na tayo nag-eequal, 3,500 nalang instead of the regular 5,000 to 6,000 ang nailalabas from the port. In short, this containers pile up increasingly, day after day for the three-month truck ban,” Sta. Ana said.
He said the piling up of the unreleased containers in the ports resulted in “heavy stress on the equipment operating inside the port and reduced productivity and efficiency level.”
Sta. Ana also argued that the containers have already occupied some streets in the port area, affecting the sequencing and the operation of the equipment.
“Nawala na yung first in and first out sequencing ng container...kapag kung saan-saan mo sila nilagay sa kalye, yung equipment imbes na sa port lang magooperate, magtra-travel yan dun sa mga spaces na nilagyan mo ng containers, so nababawasan din ang efficiency level natin,” Sta. Ana said.
Sta. Ana said among the measures that the PPA had already undertaken in coordination with the shipping lines was the hauling of container vans even during weekends.
He said the ports of Batangas and Subic also have their own vessels hauling empty containers during weekends. Sta. Ana said this was apart from the vessels contracted by the government to sweep empty containers from the ports of Manila.
Sta. Ana said the agency was also looking into renting more private lots to serve as off-dock container yards.
“Kailangan magkaroon tayo ng mas maraming private off-dock container yards, para may mapaglagyan tayo ng mga empty containers,” Sta. Ana said.
He said there were some 30 hectares of off-dock container yards in Cavite, Bulacan, Batangas, Laguna and Manila North Harbour Port.

Sta. Ana said about 10.6 hectares of lot in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) would open tentatively next week to serve as a container yard.
Sta. Ana also appealed on the private warehouses to operate during night time.
“Kailangan bumilis yung truck turn around time. Kaya nga ang sinasabi natin sa mga private warehouses, this is not a problem of government alone. Kailangan magbukas sila, kapag lumanding ang mga container sa warehouse nila, kailangan antimano magoperate, idiskarga yung container para yung truck agad na makabalik,” Sta. Ana said.
He said thealso submit a proposal to the Manila government soon to expand the Express Trade Lanes (ETLs) where trucks can ply 24 hours a day.
“We will have to ask the city of Manila to expand some more trade lanes kasi kulang parin yung ikot ng truck, hindi parin nakakaikot sa ibang lugar. So very soon we will be proposing to the city of Manila, na yung trade lane i-expand pa natin,” Sta. Ana said.
Currently, there are only two ETL routes approved by the Metro Manila mayors in June. —Elizabeth Marcelo/NB, GMA News