MANILA, Feb. 26 — With the economic consequences of the 2014 congestion problem at the country’s two major ports still fresh in the minds of port stakeholders, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on February 19 has attended the forum hosted by the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., to address the issues and concerns affecting the operations at the ports, including its looming congestion problem.
Speaking before the federation, Commissioner Guerrero presented the actions taken by the bureau to address various trade challenges. He also talked about his initiatives and plans to further improve Customs systems and operations.
It was discussed during the forum that International shipping lines should be required to have their own depot outside Metro Manila, for them to store their empty containers and not inside port terminals, as practiced today. The space allocation of this facility should be efficiently managed to maximize its storing capacity.
As an alternative, a unified or shared facility where empty containers of all shipping companies may be accommodated can also be established. And as much as possible, these shipping-line owned depots must be located near industrial areas. PEZA should, therefore, be urged to have a space for empty containers and BOC should accredit these depots.
The strict enforcement of the 90-day rule on empty containers should be also undertaken, if only to penalize those that have stayed in the country for over 90 days. Thus, a re-export bond should be required from shipping companies for their empty containers. And the container imbalance charge (CIC), which is now being charged to importers and brokers, should be included in the re-export penalties and taxes on over-staying empty containers.
Indeed, FCCCII, as the country’s leading organization of port users, aims to help establish, not only user friendly ports, but those that espouse inclusive growth as well to all port stakeholders.
Other officials of Customs, including Deputy Commissioner Edard James Dy Buco, Deputy Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla, MICP District Collector Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria and Commissioner’s Chief of Staff Atty. Teodoro Jumamil also attended the forum.
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