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The Port of Manila was fully decongested last month, with its operations “completely normalized,” Malacañang said Monday.
In a statement read by presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda during a press briefing, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the Manila port congestion “has been resolved.”
“Over the past three weeks, the ships with berthing schedules were accommodated accordingly. For ships that arrive unscheduled, they were able to dock within 24 to 60 hours,” Almendras said.
Both the International Container Terminal Services Inc. and the Asian Terminals Inc. have already been “maximized to facilitate the flow of trade and cargo,” with utilization rates of 79 percent to 84 percent," he added.
“There was a time that the ports and all container yards were flooded with empty containers. At the end of February 2015, this is no longer the situation,” the Cabinet official said.
Almendras thanked the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), local government units, government agencies and other stakeholders for enforcing the enhanced truck ban and routes to help decongest the container terminals.
The Cabinet secretary acknowledged that the port decongestion “was a long process complicated by many factors,” including ship scheduling, cargo handling and truck ban hours.
According to a data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), yard utilization in all Manila ports as of 7 a.m. of Feb. 19 was at 77 percent.
The yard utilization target set by the Cabinet Cluster on Port Congestion is 80 percent.
PPA noted that yard utilization level has been hovering around 75 percent to 79 percent since the Papal visit in January.
The number of vessels waiting at pilot station decreased to five, excluding the approximately 10 ships at berth, while vessel turnaround time remains at two days and the average yard productivity for both ports is 18 moves per hour per crane, according to a PPA data on Feb. 6.
During the last few months of 2014, the government stepped up efforts to address the problem, including shipping out overstaying cargoes.
President Benigno Aquino III also signed an executive order declaring the Batangas and Subic ports as extensions of the Port of Manila to encourage their use as alternate piers in case of congestion.
A Cabinet cluster also passed a resolution allowing some truckers to have all-day access to the ports.
As part of measures to decongest the container terminals, the government significantly raised fines imposed on overstaying cargo to discourage importers and brokers from leaving their container vans at the port facilities.
The government lost some P70 billion due to port congestion from April to September last year, according to National Economic and Development Authority. – VS/NB, GMA News