Containers for transfer to domestic baseports and container yards located within the Cebu port zone may now pull out from Cebu International Port (CIP) any time of the day, according to a new order from the Cebu provincial government.
This exemption is contained in Executive Order (EO) 2-A signed by Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia on January 15. EO 2-A revises EO No. 2 series of 2021, which limits cargo pullout at CIP to nighttime only.
EO 2, issued on January 13, ordered cargo releasing and pullout at CIP to be carried out at nighttime only, from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., starting January 15 to alleviate daytime traffic on roads leading to the pier.
It also implemented a truck ban in the municipalities of Consolacion and Liloan from 5:00 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The measure was issued because “there is an urgent need to decongest” CIP during peak hours to alleviate heavy traffic in affected areas.”
The EO noted that truck and cargo vehicles usually converge at the CIP during the release of their cargoes, clogging roads leading to the pier area and “causing a ripple effect on the traffic situation all the way to the Municipality of Consolacion and the Municipality of Liloan.”
Delays, congestion feared
Port stakeholders are anticipating delays with the implementation of the truck ban and the new container pullout schedule.
Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, Inc.-Cebu (PMTLAI-Cebu) president Elaine Nolasco, in an email to PortCalls, said they expect delays in withdrawal of containers as the window provided by EO 2 to release and withdraw import containers is shorter than the previous 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
She noted, however, that the policy is “a work in progress,” as pointed out by the Cebu governor during a meeting with stakeholders, so “there might still be changes as other sectors are still seeking audience with the governor to present their requests for consideration.”
Nolasco said PMTLAI-Cebu will seek a separate meeting with the governor to present their situation for evaluation by the provincial government.
Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.-Cebu president Rami Hourani, in an email to PortCalls, said they also “hope to work with the Governor to carve out exemptions for exporters to preserve their competitiveness.”
He noted, however, that “the Governor made her stance clear though. She refused to grant any exemptions at the inception of the policy.”
Hourani said the policy affects exporters as they also often simultaneously import and export.
“Exporters are anxious about the simultaneous implementation of a truck ban across multiple LGUs [local government units] and the imposition of the E-TRACC [Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo] system (of the Bureau of Customs) that is in the early stages of being rolled out. The two together could lead to port congestion,” he continued.
He explained that both measures serve to complicate the process of removing a container from the port. “This could lead to delays in the procurement of containers and late shipments,” Hourani said.
E-TRACC, a system for tracking cargoes launched by the BOC last year, requires the outfitting of an electronic customs seal during the transfer of cargo from the port to container yards or other customs territories and facilities.
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