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Ports to clear overstaying cargoes

/ 05:40 AM April 03, 2020

Overstaying cargoes could soon be tagged as abandoned, as the government tries to prevent a congestion at the ports which would further disrupt a supply chain that is already struggling to stay alive during the health crisis.

This will be done through a joint administrative order, which is currently being drafted by a number of government agencies, according to a statement from the Department of Trade and Industry on Thursday.

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In the proposed JAO, all overstaying cargoes that remain beyond 30 days from discharge are required to be withdrawn within five days from the effectivity date of the administrative order. Otherwise, cargoes will be considered abandoned.

Priority processing shall also be given to arriving cargoes, particularly food, medicine, medical and basic necessities. Containers scheduled to arrive after the issuance of the JAO must be withdrawn within 10 days from discharge. Otherwise, they shall also be declared abandoned.

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Furthermore, appropriate penalties shall be imposed by the PPA to ensure that consignees and importers withdraw the cargo within the window provided.

All refrigerated containers must be pulled out within seven days, except chilled cargoes which are given five days from the issuance of the JAO. Unclaimed reefers are granted a three-day grace period, and after which are declared as abandoned goods.

Upon publication, the JAO shall remain in effect until the state of public health emergency is lifted, subject to changes as may be instructed by the Office of the President.

“This is very important because port congestion creates disruptions in our supply chain. It will hinder the flow of goods and cause delays in the delivery of cargo, which will then affect the prices of goods in the market. It creates a domino effect,” Lopez said.

At present, the yard utilization at the Manila international ports, composed of the Manila International Container Terminal and the Manila South Harbor, are almost at maximum capacity.

This, the DTI said, is due to the idle movement of cleared cargoes containing perishables such as food, medicines, and other essentials following the declaration of the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine.

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TAGS: DTI, JAO, overstaying cargo, port
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