The Bureau of Customs (BOC) targets to finish all the backlog in processes which hampers the entry of various shipments to the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation, according to its Deputy Commissioner and spokesperson Vicent Philip Maronilla on Thursday.
"Dahil nagkaroon ng delay, kahapon finast-track namin lahat, kahapon nagkaroon kami ng stop gap solution. Mahigit 2,000 entries ho ang naproseso namin. Ang target ho namin zero backlog by today," Maronilla said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.
He said the delay was caused by the disinfection protocol that the BOC had to implement after an employee of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) tested positive for COVID-19.
The MICP serves as one of the busiest ports in the country, receiving 30% of the whole shipment processes nationwide, according to the BOC official.
Nonetheless, Maronilla requested other stakeholders in the supply chain to prepare for the upcoming releases of the shipments.
"I-anticipate ninyo na ho na bibilisan namin ang proseso namin. Sana ho sa end naman nila maipalabas natin [ang shipments] para ho maiwasan natin unang-una 'yung demurrage sa mga kasama nating importers at negosyante," Maronilla said.
He also implored the arrastre or portside cargo handling operators to give discounts or waive charges for the affected businessmen, given the COVID-19 situation.
Demurrage charges are like rent charges, he said.
"Kapag kayo ho kasi ay gumagamit ng pier bilang facility habang pinoproseso ang kargamento paglabas 'yan po ay nakatengga doon so para ho kayong nagrerenta," Maronilla explained.
He added that the price charged by arrastre operators varies, depending on the type of shipment container.
Charges for refrigerated containers are more costly than dry ones and may reach up to P5,000 daily.
Maronilla is asking for consideration to the operators to apply considerable adjustments as not all cold storage outside the ports can readily accommodate all the shipments.
"'Yan ho ay dadalhin sa accredited cold storage ng Department of Agriculture. Kung 'yang mga cold storgae pong 'yan ay nagpatupad din ng lockdown o limited din ang workforce at hindi matanggap ang mga refrigerated containers na ito, wala pong paglilipatan. Hindi kaagad nila tatanggalin agad sa pier 'yan," he said.
On the other hand, Maronilla assured that shipments containing medical goods for COVID-19 response are being swiftly released by the BOC. — RSJ, GMA News