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Phl port utilization vastly improved, Tugade tells investors



Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Monday told members of the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines that port utilization in the country has improved vastly.

Secretary Tugade attributed the recent improvements to the joint initiative of government and private sector to decongest ports, following the signing of a manifesto on efficient port utilization only last 15 March 2019.

The manifesto formalized the removal of overstaying containers in Philippine ports to ensure the balance of inbound and outbound containers.

“In less than a month after the signing of the manifesto, we have started removing containers used for unfair practices. Formalizing an agreement is one thing, implementing it is another, and we have done that effectively and immediately,” Secretary Tugade said.

In less than two weeks after the manifesto signing, container pullouts have increased to up to 18%. Yard utilization at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and the Manila South Harbor (MSH) also went down from 98% in December 2018 to 74% and 69%, respectively.

Additionally, the number of vessels waiting at the anchorage for the same period at the MICT has declined significantly, from seven to eight ships down to zero; and at the SH, from 18 ships in waiting down to just one to two ships.

Michael K. Raeuber, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Royal Cargo Combined Logistics Inc. and former president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, lauded the efforts of the DoTr, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and Bureau of Customs (BOC), as well as the support of port operators, in resolving the country’s issues on port congestion.

Secretary Tugade said government will continue to work with the private sector to further improve its programs, policies, and services for more efficient and productive maritime operations throughout the country.

“Aside from addressing port congestion, we have also opened new RoRo routes that fully connect our regions to one another for faster delivery of goods and trade. We are closely working with our partners and stakeholders to fully elevate the country’s economic status worldwide for the benefit of the Filipino people,” the transportation chief added.