Manila port operator seeks removal of containers grounded by COVID-19 restrictions
Billionaire Enrique Razon Jr.’s Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) is asking businesses to remove their cargo containers that had piled up and now congesting the terminal.
The accumulation of cargo containers in MICT was a consequence of President Rodrigo Duterte’s expanded quarantine restrictions in Luzon that have temporarily shuttered businesses.
“Containers are simply not being removed from the terminal,” said in a letter by Christian Gonzales, executive vice president of International Container Terminal Services, which operates MICT, to consignees, shippers, brokers and processors.
“We understand that it is unfeasible for some and many businesses that have been temporarily shut down but without the full support of everyone that is able to open, we will come to a point when efficient operations will no longer be possible,” added the letter.
As of March 14, MICT recorded imports of 22,043 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs). The figure ballooned to 36,793 TEUs as of March 27, MICT said.
MICT told consignees, the party responsible for receiving the shipment, to withdraw cleared cargo immediately.
It said from March 1-26, there were 8,201 cleared containers sitting in the terminal. It said 850 TEUs are refrigerated containers containing food.
Moreover, it said there are over 21,387 TEUs waiting for clearance. Over 1,400 of these are refrigerated containers.
MICT said businesses unable to take delivery at their own sites may use the company’s offsite facilities in Laguna, Bulacan and Cavite, where special accommodations will be provided.
MICT is also asking the government Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for help, through the Bureau of Customs, to deal with long overstaying boxes at its terminal.
It noted that there are 7,000 TEUs in its yard that are overstaying for more than 30 days. It said more than 5,400 TEU are “uncleared overstaying boxes”.
MICT said 4,865 TEUs of those were discharged between 2010 to 2019. MICT is seeking the transfer of overstaying cargo by bypassing “tedious” condemnation and auction processes for containers discharged in 2018 or earlier.
The company also wants all cleared boxes over 30 days old to be approved for transfer to external facilities without delay.
MICT is owned by Razon’s ICTSI, a global port operator.
Edited by TSB
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.