Depot to ease port congestion

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The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said yesterday that it is looking for facilities where truckers can unload empty containers to solve the supposed delays in their operations due to the shortage of yard depots.

The PPA identified the Cavite Gateway Terminal as one such alternative area where empty containers can be unloaded to make it unnecessary for around 200 trucks to enter Metro Manila daily. The Cavite terminal will open soon, it said.

Like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the PPA saw little disruption on commerce brought about by the six-day truck holiday being staged by small and independent truckers. The protest entered its second day yesterday and will end on 24 November.

The truckers are protesting the phase-out of trucks 15 years and older, as well as the lack of container depots.

“This will still not affect the typical operation in our ports. The organizations promised that they will conduct their protest in the proper area,” PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago said on radio.

Inland Haulers and Truckers Association president Teddy Gervacio slammed recently Department of Transportation (DoTr) Order 2017-009 which will prohibit the operation of 15-year-old and older trucks.

Gervacio said “roadworthiness” should be the basis in phasing out trucks instead of the year they were manufactured.

The truckers also decried the congestion in ports due to piles of unreturned empty container vans. Empty container vans brought by international shipping lines should be returned to their respective container yards to decongest ports, they said.

The groups earlier said they want the Bureau of Customs to “properly” implement a 2015 administrative order, which mandates that empty containers that arrive in the Philippines should be re-exported within 90 days from date of last discharge or else their owners would have to pay import taxes.

Meanwhile, the DoTr and its attached agencies warned of sanctions for economic sabotage amid the truck holiday staged by the independent trucking groups.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) said they will not hesitate to impose sanctions on truckers proven to have disrupted the free flow of commerce to and from the Port of Manila.

They said they will go down hard on those who prevented or threatened the operations of trucking companies that have not supported the protest.

In a press statement, the DoTr said that on Sunday several trucks and private vehicles were seen obstructing the entrance to the Port Area on R10 Road in Tondo, Manila.

DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade stressed that concerted disruption of the operations of trucking companies uninvolved in the protest is economic sabotage.

“We will observe maximum tolerance, but in no way should there be traffic disruption or congestion. Best interest of public and business must be prioritized and served,” Secretary Tugade said.

At present, 40 personnel from the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic are deployed in the Port Area to ensure that operations remain smooth.

The DoTr and the LTFRB emphasized that various trucking organizations, including some of those participating in the truck holiday, have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the LTFRB and the LTO on 15 May 2018.

The MoA established the express consent of trucking organizations to secure the requirements for road worthiness and safety through the Motor Vehicle Inspection System to make their trucks legally operational, including those units older than 15 years, during the transition period from 30 June 2017 to 30 June 2020, in compliance with DO 2017-09 and DO 2002-030.

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