Customs brokers back TOP-CRMS

The Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc. has joined the roster of major organizations in the logistics industry which handed their support to the Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry and Monitoring System or TOP-CRMS, which is the key digitization effort of the Philippine Ports Authority.

TOP-CRMS was conceptualized to resolve the perennial problem of high and unregulated charges in logistics costs such as container deposits and missing empty containers.

CCBI national president Adones Carmona said during the Kapihan sa Aduana at the Manila Hotel that they are supporting the TOP-CRMS as he expressed the desire that his presidency will leave a legacy of eradicating the problem of skyrocketing container deposits.

“That’s why we stand behind the technology, and I believe it is our innate responsibility since we are the victims of high container deposits,” he said.

He said that the other reason for supporting the system is that he also wanted to resolve the problem of empty containers that caused port congestion which resulted in additional fees for brokers.

“The PPA project is a blessing and not a curse. The ability to track cargo in real-time until its return is an added value for customs brokers and importers. I have an experience where I was charged P200,000 because of an unreturned container by a shipping line,” he said.

He said he hopes that the TOP-CRMS will be implemented and approved to ease the burden of the players in the logistics industry, just like the brokers who have been shelling out huge amounts of money for the container deposits.

Clearance from COA
Meanwhile, PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago maintained that the TOP-CRMS has undergone a proper bidding and regular process and was cleared of any negative findings from the Commission on Audit.

“The contract is worth P900 million, but the PPA has not shelled out a cent to the developer of the system. Let me clear that the developer will be paid upon the use of the monitoring system once implemented,” Santiago said, who also served as a speaker during the Kapihan sa Aduana.

He said the P900 million is the price of the service of the developer/supplier that has designed the system for the container registry and monitoring.

The contract was awarded to the joint venture of NextIX, Inc. and Shiptek Solutions Corp. last 27 April.

He also stressed that those questioning the bidding process can scrutinize the bidding documents including the Terms of Reference that are readily available on the PPA and the Government Procurement and Policy Board website.

Santiago also revealed that until now, the Anti-Red Tape Authority has not yet released the result of the regulatory impact notification the PPA has filed to be able to know if TOP-CRMS will result in the easing of red tape or not.

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