Manila port operators seek shorter free storage period for containers

PPA Port Management Office-NCR South officials, hearing committee members, Manila terminal operator executives, and representatives of port stakeholders’ groups in a photo after a public hearing on January 24.

Port operators Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) are asking the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to shorten the period for free storage of containers to better control dwell time.

Separately, ICTSI is seeking an adjustment of storage charges for out-of-gauge (OOG) shipments while ATI is proposing to establish a tariff for OOG shipments and arrastre rates for handling empty containers.

ATI wants to cut the allowed free storage period to seven days from 10-with storage starting from date of the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) Online Release System (OLRS)-before penalties are imposed. The proposal aims to reduce the average dwell time of containers at Manila South Harbor, said ATI assistant vice president for business development Edward Ian Baking at a public hearing on January 24.

Baking said reducing the period before penalties are imposed “will naturally control the dwell time of containers.”

Data from ATI showed that the percentage of cargo owners able to release cargoes within 10 days peaked at 98% in 2016, then fell to 94% in 2019. Cargo owners who withdrew their cargoes within seven days were at 95% in 2016 and at 89% in 2019.

Baking noted that by reducing container dwell time by one day, yard capacity can increase by 200,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) without having to expand the yard.

ICTSI, on the other hand, is petitioning for the immediate start of the free storage period on the actual day the container is discharged from the carrying vessel, instead of the current rule where the free storage period starts after date of discharge of the last package from the carrying vessel.

ICTSI is also requesting that the reckoning time of the storage day start from the actual time the container is discharged from the carrying vessel, instead of the current policy of reckoning time of storage day starting from 7:01 a.m. up to 7:00 a.m. of the next day.

Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) management services and government affairs director Voltaire Wycoco, at the same public hearing, said ICTSI’s proposal seeks to reduce the effect of container dwell time on capacity and prevent high yard utilization at MICT, which will result in increased productivity, more efficient use of resources, and faster landside delivery.

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